Far too many older people spend 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 London Masons through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF).
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.
London Masons 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 are thinking of them over Christmas. I know what a huge difference these gifts will make, and I am truly grateful to the Masonic Charitable Foundation and London Masons, for making them possible.”
Tony Shields, Metropolitan Grand Lodge Charity Steward: “I’m very pleased we’ve been 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 is thinking of them at this special time is hugely important. This is another example of Freemasons supporting the London community. This donation follows on from a £1,250,000 donation, of a £2.5 million funding pledge from London Freemasons to London Fire Brigade. The funding will provide London Fire Brigade with two extended height aerial vehicles.”