Far too many older people spent last Christmas entirely on their own, never receiving a single card or present. This past year, however, saw around 2,000 isolated and lonely older people who have contacted The Silver Line Helpline receive a gift and a card, thanks to a grant of £7,500 from Worcestershire Freemasons through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), the freemasons' charity.
The Silver Line offers emotional support and friendship to vulnerable and isolated older people. As well as its flagship 24/7 helpline, the charity offers a telephone befriending service which matches volunteers – Silver Line Friends – with an older person, many of whom do not have anyone else to chat to, for regular weekly phone calls. These become real friendships, transforming lives and giving older people a conversation to look forward to in a lonely week.
Almost 2,000 older people receive these weekly telephone friendship calls through The Silver Line, and each also received a Christmas parcel filled with festive goodies.
Freemasons from Worcestershire Province have contributed to the grant that comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales. This donation is part of their strategic partnership with Age UK to tackle loneliness and isolation amongst older people.
Dame Esther Rantzen, founder of The Silver Line said: “The loneliness and neglect that many of our Silver Line callers experience is simply heart-breaking. A Christmas box of goodies is way of reassuring them that they have not been forgotten, that they are valued, and that we were thinking of them over Christmas. I know what a huge difference these gifts made, and I am truly grateful to the Masonic Charitable Foundation and Worcestershire Freemasons, for making them possible.”
Jonathan Swift from Worcestershire Freemasons, said: "I’m very pleased we were able to bring a little Christmas cheer to the older people who’ve been calling The Silver Line. Being alone is difficult, but it’s especially hard during the festive season. Letting them know that someone was thinking of them at that special time is hugely important.”