Esther Rantzen launches elderly helpline

Ester Rantzen Mrs Rantzen founded Childline in 1986

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Esther Rantzen has launched a new 24-hour helpline service for the elderly in the Isle of Man.

Silver Line, fronted by Mrs Rantzen, will provide a helpline in the same way which ChildLine works for young people.

Mrs Rantzen said: "I really believe the service will improve the quality of people's lives."

The service will offer help and advice as well as providing links to local charities and social care options.

Mrs Rantzen founded ChildLine in 1986, a charity which helps children deal with issues including abuse and bullying.

The Isle of Man has been chosen alongside Manchester to pilot the scheme before next summer's national launch.

Chief Minister Allan Bell said he was "delighted the Isle of Man was chosen to take part".

'Inspirational staff'

In the 2011 census, 17,847 people of retirement age or over were living in the island.

Mrs Rantzen, 72, said: "We appreciate that the Isle of Man already has a vigorous and creative support network for older people, and I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the inspirational staff and volunteers working in this sector.

"I know that those responsible for care of the elderly are well aware of the hugely damaging impact loneliness can have on health and wellbeing. However, there is a stigma attached to loneliness which all too often prevents older people asking for help.

"The Silver Line will signpost them to local services and charities which could transform their lives. There is no need to be alone."

Mrs Rantzen said she had received a "tremendously warm response from the government and local charities."

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