Esther Rantzen’s line for elderly to go live

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PUBLICITY from 50,000 leaflets will herald the island’s launch of ‘Silverline’ a new support line for old people.

The project, inspired by television presenter Esther Rantzen, is being funded by Comic Relief and will begin a pilot scheme here at the start of next month.

The confidential free telephone helpline will offer information and support to old people, particularly those who are isolated or lonely.

Commenting on the scheme, Ms Rantzen said: ‘No question is too small, no problem is too big, no need to be alone.

‘Callers ringing the free helpline for a friendly word or for more practical advice can be confident that they are talking to someone off-island and on a confidential basis.’

The Silver Line will have befrienders available to talk on the phone, and a database of information about agencies and others who provide the type of support needed.

A parallel UK trial kicks off in Manchester on November 26 and both schemes should be made permanent at the end of the three-month pilot.

Preparing for the launch Ms Rantzen has visited the island twice and met Chief Minister Allan Bell and Social Care Minister Chris Robertshaw as well as people from charities and businesses.

After the meetings she said: ‘It is evident the island shines out as community that is caring and generous, We do not intend to replicate the wonderful work done here. However, we do believe it would be helpful to link them with older people who may not know such support is available. We would like to assure people they will be able to ring The Silver Line with any problem, no matter how small.’

The number and support details will be announced on Monday December 3 at the island’s official launch.

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