'When I get off the phone I feel like I belong to the human race': evaluation of the Silver Line Helpline pilots
CENTRE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
An evaluation of the Silver Line helpline and befriending service which was set up in response to loneliness and isolation of older people in the UK. The service has been piloted in the North West of the UK, and in the Isle of Man since the end of November 2012 and provides a helpline offering information, referrals to other organisations and someone to talk to 24 hours a day. The evaluation included a literature review, interviews by phone and in person, and fieldwork in the three call centres. The results found that the service was fulfilling its three key objectives of providing a referral service, delivering a befriending service to combat loneliness, and to help identify those who are vulnerable and may be suffering abuse or neglect. The evalution also highlights the skills and values that staff and volunteers considered to be essential when operating the service. Key recommendations for the future included extending the pilot across the country through partnership.