A ‘friendship’ helpline for older people, called The Silver Line, has been launched. It uses specially trained volunteers to:
Offer information, friendship and advice
Link callers to local groups and services
Offer regular befriending calls
Protect and support those who are suffering abuse and neglect.
I think the subtle allusion in the title is brilliant. I’m pleased to see they will make calls as well as receive them. The ability to link callers to local groups is going to be heavily dependent on the national charities with local branches, since the structure of local CVSs has been so decimated that even where they still exist, their connections with independent groups is often tenuous or fortuitous.
I’d like to see the service gradually localised, so that helpline staff are more likely to recognise some of the things that callers are talking about. Geography and places can be useful conversation hangers.