Volunteer for The Silver Line Helpline
Can you empathise and listen to older people, be warm and friendly providing time-sensitive information, and commit to at least 2 hours a week for at least a year? If so, you could play an important role as a volunteer on our Silver Line Helpline.
What is The Silver Line Helpline?
The Silver Line is the only free and 24-hour helpline in the UK for older people over the age of 55 who feel lonely and isolated. The Silver Line helpline provides information, advice, and friendship to those who need us most and is open 365 days a year.
The Silver Line offers support to people in many ways; through signposting to other services, by offering a friendly chat at any time of day or night, and through referrals to our other Friendship Services. The Helpline is crucial to our service, as it is often the first point of contact for older people who need support.
What might I do as a Helpline Volunteer?
- Act as the first point of contact for older people, ensuring that calls are handled in a way that respects the individual and reflects The Silver Line’s values.
- Be led by the caller and treat every call as a fresh call. Empathising. Being non-judgmental and offering a friendly listening ear.
- Signpost to other organisations and services, where appropriate, from our list of trusted organisations.
- Maintain quality standards, with emphasis on empathy, patience, understanding, impartiality and caller satisfaction.
- Work professionally, offering a consistent service to our callers, which remains sensitive to their needs.
- Ensure the Data Capture form is completed after every call.
- Escalate all concerns via the appropriate channels and seek support when needed.
- Adhere to the policies and procedures of The Silver Line, including data protection, safeguarding and equality.
What’s great about becoming a Helpline Volunteer?
- You’ll be using your skills to make a practical, and measurable, impact on older people’s lives, improving their happiness and wellbeing.
- You can help older people all over the country from your own home.
- You’ll be part of a friendly and supportive team.
- You’ll be fully trained and receive ongoing support from our team.
- You’ll have a regular opportunity to share your experiences with other volunteers, so you can learn from them and them from you.
- You’ll have the opportunity to enhance your skills and learn new ones.
- We protect the safety of all volunteers by using an online call system, so that you don’t need to use your personal telephone number.
How does it work?
- You sign up and start your volunteer application online, explaining your skills and experience and why you want to be a Helpline Volunteer.
- To confirm that your skills and experience match what the service needs, we’ll invite you to a telephone interview and ask for references.
- You’ll read a pre-training document and complete an online safeguarding course prior to attending three 2-hour online training sessions.
- Once training is complete, we will set you up with your accounts ready to start answering our helpline calls.
Become a Helpline volunteer
If you're happy with everything that being a volunteer involves, we'd love to hear from you.
What training do I need?
You will receive approximately 6-8 hours of training. Training is delivered through a mixture of reading, online courses, and virtual training sessions via Microsoft Teams.
What support will I receive?
- On-shift live support provided by Helpline Team Leaders who can listen in live to your call and guide you.
- Volunteer Manager who will provide group or 1-2-1 support during the first four weeks of your volunteering – it will be mandatory for volunteers to attend a debrief call each week for the first four weeks.
- Ongoing support includes the option of volunteers booking into one of several group calls, some calls may be themed around particular issues or topics.
How does the technology side of the role work?
- Computer literacy is vital for this role. You will be using different platforms simultaneously. These include an online call center, Microsoft Teams, emails and other spreadsheets and databases.
- You will be required to own a computer or laptop with Google Chrome downloaded as the internet browser. We have an online call system which you will be shown how to use.
- You will receive a volunteer email account and Microsoft Teams account with Office 365 which is how we will communicate with you whilst you are on shift.
How long will it be before I am answering my first helpline call?
Initial application to taking your first shift can take between 5-8 weeks.