Volunteer with The Silver Line Helpline
Are you able to listen with empathy, understanding and without judgment? If so, you could play an important role as a volunteer for The Silver Line Helpline by offering friendship over the phone to an older person day or night that may feel lonely, isolated and in need of support. We are always in need of dedicated volunteers to join our growing service.
What is The Silver Line Helpline?
The Silver Line Helpline is the only free 24/7 helpline in the UK for older people over the age of 55 who might feel lonely and isolated. It's open 365 days a year.
The Silver Line Helpline offers friendship and support to people in many ways: through signposting to other services, by offering a friendly chat at any time day or night or referrals to other Age UK Services. The Silver Line Helpline is a crucial service and is often the first point of contact for older people who need support.
What might I do as a Helpline Volunteer?
As a Silver Line Helpline volunteer, you might:
- act as the first point of contact for incoming calls from older people, handling the calls sensitively and professionally
- be led by the caller - empathising, being non-judemental and offering a friendly listening ear
- signpost to other relevant trusted services, offer a friendly chat day or night, and refer to other Age UK services if required
- ensure that relevant data is captured after each call
- escalate any concerns via the appropriate channels and seek support when needed.
The difference The Silver Line Helpline can make
"When I was worried about something in the middle of the night, I phoned The Silver Line Helpline. You can say things you’d not always say to a friend or an acquaintance.”
"It has made a big difference to have The Silver Line Helpline. If I wake up too early in the morning, it’s nice to call when you wake up at a time like that."
What’s great about becoming a Helpline Volunteer?
- You'll form an essential part of our 24/7 Silver Line Helpline Team.
- You'll use your skills to have a positive impact on the lives of older people, improving their happiness and reducing their loneliness.
- You'll have the opportunity to enhance your skills and learn new ones.
- Volunteering virtually means that you can help older people all over the UK from the comfort of your own home.
- This is a crucial service and our volunteers find it enormously rewarding to give their time to The Silver Line Helpline.
Steps to becoming a volunteer
- You sign up and start your volunteer application online. We post new opportunities as soon as they are available.
- To confirm that your skills and experience match our service needs we'll invite you to a 30-minute interview on Microsoft Teams and ask for 2 references. Please have your references ready when you apply.
- The training for the role involves some pre-reading, a safeguarding module and 2 e-Learning modules – which take about 25 minutes each and can be completed in your own time. This is followed by a face-to-face training session on Microsoft Teams lasting a morning or afternoon (3 to 4 hours).
- Once all the training is complete, we will set you up with your accounts ready to start answering our helpline calls.
What's expected of me as a volunteer?
We are looking for people with a willingness to listen with empathy, understanding and without judgement. You will be acting as a first point of contact for older people who may be vulnerable, isolated or lonely. It's important that calls are handled in a way that respects the individual and reflects the values of The Silver Line Helpline.
We'd also expect you to:
- understand the need for professionalism and confidentiality at all times
- be IT literate with access to a PC, laptop, or tablet at home
- have excellent communication skills
- commit to volunteer for no less than 4 hours a week (Monday – Sunday 7am – 10pm) and for a minimum of 12 months.
How am I supported?
If you have any questions during the sign up process, email our volunteer team on email@example.com
We provide training at the start of your role to ensure you feel confident and well-prepared before you begin taking calls. You'll also receive ongoing support from The Silver Line Helpline volunteer team.
Live online support is provided by the helpline team to give you feedback and advice, and your team will also provide group or 1-2-1 support during the first 4 weeks via debrief sessions to answer any queries or questions.Volunteers can always book one of the group support calls and these are often themed or focus on particular topics and can be especially useful.
We protect the safety of volunteers by using a virtual call centre, so you don't need to use your personal telephone number and calls will not cost you anything. The volunteer team is available Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm, with Team Leaders there to look after you on shift 24/7.
"Thank you for all being there"
"The Silver Line Helpline makes it possible to have someone to turn to when times are hard and sometimes impossible to get through. It means the world to me; knowing that at the end of the phone that the adviser would not be judgemental and be helpful and trustworthy."
Volunteer with The Silver Line Helpline
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 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.
- Your volunteer team will provide group support during the first four weeks of your volunteering. We ask that volunteers attend at least one debrief session within their 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.