Silver Line raises £60,000 in a week after front page appeal

20 Jul 2018 News

The Silver Line, the helpline for lonely older people, has raised £60,000 in a week after a front page appeal in the Express newspaper.

The charity, which was set up in 2012 by Dame Esther Rantzen, warned it was running out of money because a Big Lottery Fund grant will shortly come to an end.

It had a turnover of £5.1m, according to its most recent accounts, has £617,000 of restricted reserves, but has struggled to build unrestricted funds.

Its last accounts show it down to £62,000 of unrestricted reserves, of which all but £9,000 was tied up in fixed assets such as property.

The charity would have had negative reserves if it had not succeeded in transferring £66,000 from restricted to unrestricted funds.

The charity’s struggles have been driven by a desire to meet fast-rising demand from callers, which average more than 10,000 a week. The charity says that most of its calls come overnight, and it struggles to meet demand.

The charity employs 200 staff as well as using 3,000 volunteers. 

It had been forced to make major changes to bring more than 170 call centre staff in-house, in order to avoid significant VAT costs, and as a result has struggled with cash flow issues.

Dame Esther said yesterday: “We are absolutely delighted by the positive response so far. It makes our work worthwhile to know how much support for what we do is out there.

“Thank you Express readers for your generosity and helping us to help the thousands of older people that call us every week who speak to literally no one else but us.

“We will ensure that every penny of your money is well spent.”

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