The Silver Line, a charity for older people set up by TV presenter Dame Esther Rantzen, has joined forces with Age UK.
The charity is perhaps best known for its national 24/7 helpline which offers support for older people. The helpline receives more than 10,000 calls a week, and its befriending services support 2,000 older people.
A statement from the Silver Line stated that “demand is ever-increasing”, so the merger is designed to enable the charity to reach more people and to raise donations. It added: “Nothing changes today for our callers or the older people who use our services.”
Dame Esther Rantzen, founder of The Silver Line, said: “Meeting the escalating demand and finding the funds to answer every call has been a constant and exhausting challenge, and joining forces with Age UK is an exciting new chapter in the life of The Silver Line.
“It follows a very similar story to when we joined Childline with the NSPCC in 2005. Looking back that was the best decision we ever made, and that partnership enabled Childline to grow and develop in ways that would have been impossible had the charity remained on its own.”
The Charity Commission's register of charities reports The Silver Line’s most recent annual income as £4.7m, while Age UK’s stands at £147.4m.
Sophie Andrews OBE, CEO of The Silver Line, said: “I started as The Silver Line’s first employee and I am immensely proud of what we have achieved and how the organisation has grown.
“Joining forces with Age UK marks a significant step forward for the charity, one which will give us the stability to continue to deliver our vital services and to grow sustainably.”
The Big Lottery Fund had previously awarded funding to cover helpline costs.
Steph Harland, CEO of Age UK, said: “By joining forces with The Silver Line we’ll strengthen our complementary services with the aim of helping more older people while making every penny of funding stretch as far as we can.
“The Silver Line offers an emotional lifeline to so many, and by complementing their services with Age UK’s more practical information and advice, we will together give older people a place to turn to for whatever they need.
“The Silver Line has a profound effect on the lives of the older people it supports and will be an important part of our fundraising efforts around loneliness.”