Sophie Andrews

The Silver Line Helpline

 

Sophie Andrews was approached to set up The Silver Line by ChildLine founder Dame Esther Rantzen and took up her first CEO role in September 2012.

In just over three years she has achieved the extraordinary in delivering Esther’s vision of ‘a ChildLine for older people’ from scratch – starting with a small-scale pilot in Manchester launched with no publicity, to becoming a firmly established part of the support network for some of the most vulnerable members of our society known to millions.

To date, the UK’s only free and confidential helpline for older people, open 24/7/365, has taken over 1.5 million calls – and currently receives around 10,000 per week, of which two thirds are made in the evening and at weekends when other services are shut. 53% of callers say they have no one else to talk to - some refer to us as a ‘lifeline’.

“In the early days people used to ring asking to speak to the FD and I’d say: ‘speaking’. Can I speak to HR – ‘speaking’, can I speak to comms ‘speaking’... in those first few months, we were really punching above our weight... today, it’s hard to imagine a time when The Silver Line didn’t exist.” (Sophie Andrews)

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