Campaign to end loneliness

Feeling lonely?

Feeling lonely can be fleeting, felt for just a day, or for it can be a longer term emotion. It is useful to think positively about doing something to help yourself out of loneliness, while remembering not to blame yourself for feeling this way.

 Feeling lonely is a normal human emotion and is simply a sign of wanting contact with people. It can often happen because of external circumstances, such as loss of a loved one.

If you have been feeling lonely for a while, a first step is to notice and identify this, even if just to yourself. This can help you can think about what you could do to help yourself, or how to ask for help from others.

If you think you are feeling lonely, you could try one or more of the following:

  • Think about yourself – think about what you would like more of – maybe time with friends or family, if so invite them to visit. Often if you are lonely you think people do not want to visit. This is understandable but often people will respond to an invitation and will come and spend quality time with you.
  • Look after yourself – if you can do something to improve your health, take small steps to eat well, take gentle exercise and keep active, all of these things can help you to relax more fully in your own company.
  • Share your skills and time with others – you can offer time or specific skills by helping out in your street, neighbourhood or with local organisations. You could volunteer with the Royal Voluntary ServiceSense or Independent Age who support older people.
  • Your community and neighbourhood – find out what local activities are being planned and book them up: walks, singing groups, book clubs and bridge. For example, Contact the Elderly and the University of the Third Age have a wide range of local social groups and activities across the UK. You can also call  The Silver Line helpline on (freephone) 0800 4 70 80 90 for information, advice or just for a chat, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
  • Speak to a health worker if you feel very lonely – long term loneliness could contribute to later depression and other health problems. Your GP should be able to direct you to local services.

Some useful resources:


For general queries email us at or call us on 020 7012 1409.

Or you can write to us at:
Campaign to End Loneliness
3 Rufus Street
N1 6PE

More Support


In August 2011, Dame Esther Rantzen DBE (who founded the children’s helpline ChildLine in 1986), wrote an article about the loneliness she has experienced since being bereaved, and living alone. She was overwhelmed by the huge response from older people who shared her experience. In November 2011 she was invited to make a key-note speech at a conference at which she came up with the idea of creating a helpline in order to support vulnerable older people, sign-post them to projects and services, break through the stigma of loneliness and isolation, and tackle the problems of abuse and neglect.

As a result, Paul Burstow, (then Minister of State for Care Services), hosted a round-table seminar on 1st February 2012, chaired by Esther Rantzen, at which many of the major voluntary organisations working with older people were represented, together with members of the statutory sector. The enthusiasm and support of all the attendees lead to an initial grant of £50,000 pledge as “seed money” by the Department of Health. A pilot was launched in November 2012, funded by Comic Relief covering the North East, North West, Isle of Man and Jersey.

Following a successful pilot The Silver Line was awarded a £5 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund in September 2013 to support part of the first two years operation. This grant allowed the Silver Line to launch in time for Christmas – often the loneliest time of year for older people.

The Silver Line Helpline provides three functions to support older people:

•  a sign-posting service to link them into the many, varied services that exist around the country
•  a befriending service to combat loneliness
• a means of empowering those who may be suffering abuse and neglect, if appropriate to transfer them to specialist services to protect them from harm

Need help? Call us ANYTIME on: 0800 4 70 80 90

The Silver Line is the only free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Contact Us

Our Helpline – 0800 4 70 80 90

The Silver Line is the only national confidential and free helpline for older people open every day and night of the year.

  • No question too big
  • No problem too small
  • No need to be alone

New mobile number – 0300 4 70 80 90

Head Office

Address: Minerva House, 42 Wigmore Street, London W1U 2RY

Call 020 7224 2020     (Office hours: 9am-6pm, Mon to Fri)

Supporter enquiries

Donations or fundraising:


General enquiries:

Helpful Organisations

  • Mind

Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm)
Details of local Minds and other local services, including peer
support groups and volunteering opportunities in Mind shops, and
Mind’s Legal Advice Line. Language Line is available for talking in a
language other than English.

  •  Age UK

advice line: 0800 169 65 65
Advice and information for older people.

  • Anxiety UK

helpline: 08444 775 774
Support and information for people suffering from anxiety disorders.

  • British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)

tel: 0161 705 4304
Details of accredited therapists.

  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

tel: 01455 883 300
Details of practitioners in your area.

  • Carers UK

advice line: 0808 808 7777
Independent information and support for carers.

  • Contact the Elderly

tel: 0800 716 543
Social activities for people over 75 with little or no social support.

  • Elefriends

Mind’s supportive online community.

  • Gingerbread

helpline: 0808 802 0925
Advice and practical support for single parents.

Help for Adult Victims of Child Abuse (HAVOCA)

Support and advice for adults suffering from past childhood abuse.

  • London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard

helpline: 0300 330 0630
Support and information for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered
people in the UK.

  • Relate

tel: 0300 100 1234
Counselling for adults with relationship difficulties.

  • Samaritans

Chris, PO Box 90 90
Stirling FK8 2SA
helpline: 08457 90 90 90
24-hour support for anyone in distress or despair.

  • Volunteering England

Information about volunteering opportunities.


Volunteer link scheme

Imagine being an elderly or disabled housebound person and not seeing anyone for four, five or even six days in a row. Our volunteers befriend housebound people in the London Borough of Ealing….and last year they made over 2,550 visits to isolated and vulnerable housebound people.