Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Esther Rantzen's IOM elderly helpline plans 'welcomed'

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Media captionAnnie Wallace says the help line would be the 'answer to people's prayers.'

Plans to pilot a new helpline service for the elderly on the Isle of Man have been welcomed by an elderly charity.

ChildLine founder Esther Rantzen announced on Monday she was hoping to move ahead with the idea in November.

The charity service will provide a 24-hour helpline in the same way that ChildLine operates for young people.

Chief Executive Officer of Age Isle of Man, George Quayle, said: "Anything we can do which helps to combat isolation for the elderly is to be welcomed."

Ms Rantzen said: "I really believe the service will improve the quality of people's lives.

"We need to look out for our older people - they need to feel that we care about them."

In the 2011 census, 17,847 people of retirement age or over were living in the island.

Annie Wallace, 91, from Douglas, said: "I think this would be an answer to people's prayers, to have someone to talk to. It breaks the day up for you, otherwise it is just hour after hour.

"I sometimes get up a bit early so I can sit in the bus station and say hello to people, but other than that I don't talk to anybody."

The Silver Line pilot is expected to run for three months before it is launched nationally throughout the UK.

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