Using Age UK’s Telephone Friendship Service Platform - FAQs
Using the call system
How will I make my call?
You will be given the same central telephone number to call each time. You will be given a PIN number. This does not change and should be used for every call.. You will be asked to enter your PIN number after you have dialled the central number. You will then be connected to your telephone friend. This PIN number will be emailed to you before your first call (and texted to you if we have a mobile number on record for you). You get your PIN number in a reminder, sent to you by email both 24 hours and 1 hour before your call each week.
Do I need any equipment to make my call?
All you need is a landline phone or mobile phone and tell us what number it is. You will not need to be online or use a PC or any other equipment.
Can I use any phone to make my call?
No. We set you up to call from up to two different telephone numbers. Please ensure you let us know which two phone numbers you would be calling from. Do I pay for the calls? The number you will dial in to make your call is a standard landline telephone number (01422). We know that for many of our volunteers, calls to these numbers will be free and included as part of your existing landline or mobile call package (you may want to double check with your phone provider).
We know this won’t be the case for everyone, and so if this would present a problem or you would prefer not to cover the costs of calls, please ensure you let us know when you return your signed Volunteer Terms & Conditions.
Calls are free for all the older people receiving calls through our service.
Are calls recorded?
Yes. All calls are recorded for training, quality and safeguarding purposes. We listen to a selection of calls and may provide you with feedback on the calls. Recording calls helps us listen again to any concerns you may flag to us.
Making your calls
How often can I call my friend?
The commitment we asked you to make through The Silver Line has not changed - we ask that you call your friend once a week, for around 30 minutes at an agreed day and time. If you and your friend wish to speak more regularly, you can do up to 3 times per week. All calls have to be made through our system.
What do I do if I want to reschedule my call?
Whilst we encourage you to stick to the same time and day each week, occasionally if you and your friend mutually agree to change the day or time of your call, then you don’t need to let us know - simply dial them at the time you agreed. Please notify us if you change the time or day of your call permanently.
What do I do if I want to cancel my call?
Please email the team at email@example.com as soon as possible or call 0800 434 6105. Unfortunately we are unable to cover missed calls and do ask you to commit to making your call every week wherever possible. We regularly follow up if calls are missed without being cancelled as we need to ensure the older people in our service are getting regular contact.
What do I do if my friend does not answer the phone?
Try not to worry. If your friend doesn’t answer then we’ll let you know and ask you to hang up the phone. We advise that you wait 5 minutes if you can, and try calling them again. If they still do not answer your call, you might want to try another time or day to call them.
How do I send my friend post?
You are very welcome to send photos, cards, letters or a picture of yourself, so your telephone friend can put a face to a name. All correspondence must be sent to Age UK to forward onto your telephone friend. It should not contain any contact details such as addresses, email addresses or telephone numbers. Please don’t seal the envelope and include a separate note for the team with your full name on so we know who has sent it.
All our post is sent second class, although you’re more than welcome to include a first class stamp if you would like it to reach your telephone friend quicker.
Please send any post to:
Friendship Services, Age UK, Linhay House, Linhay Business Park, Ashburton, Devon, TQ13 7UP.
We do not allow the giving of gifts, no matter how small in value.
What support can I access?
We have a team of dedicated Friendship Co-ordinators who will support you with every aspect of your volunteering. If you have any questions about your calls, need any advice, or have any worries, the team are here to help you.
It’s really important to us you enjoy your volunteering and feel confident in your role - and we’re always happy for you get in touch.
How do I contact the team?
You will now just have one point of contact for anything to do with your calls or volunteering. You can contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0800 434 6105.
What do I do if my friend needs additional support?
Providing information and advice to older people is an important part of our service. For example, your telephone friend might want information about money, care, shopping, local support, or a range of other issues. Through Age UK Advice and our local Age UKs, we are able to help older people access to a huge range of advice, support and other local services.
Local Age UKs provide services locally and cover much of the country. However, their services vary in what they offer, so whilst we will do our best to provide support please don’t promise your telephone friend that Age UK will be able to help.
Options on how to help:
We ask that you only offer the following, and please don’t give out any other contact details apart from our Age UK website and advice line. That way we can ensure people get credible, quality help. Please always ask your telephone friend if they would be interested in seeking help with an issue.
- Give your friend the Freephone number of Age UK Advice (0800 169 65 65). Age UK Advice is open from 8am – 7pm, seven days a week (including public holidays) and is for older people and their families to access information across a range of subjects which affect older people.
- Give your friend The Age UK website address - www.ageuk.org.uk
- You can contact the team to let us know if your telephone friend would like any additional support. We will then follow this up.
- If you have any immediate concerns that your telephone friend is at risk of abuse or there is any risk to their wellbeing or safety, you should contact the team immediately on 0800 435 6105.
What do I do if I am worried about my friend?
If you ever have any concerns or worries about your telephone friend, always make the team aware as soon as you can. Although the focus of Age UK’s work is with older people, you may talk with your friend about their grandchildren or other children they are in contact with. If you are told, or suspect, that your telephone friend or a child they are in contact with is experiencing, or is at risk of abuse, please do not panic.
- Listen calmly to any concerns.
- Record your observations and/or the actual words spoken.
- Contact us by calling the team on 0800 434 6105.
We work closely with colleagues in our Information and Advice team and can provide guidance to support your telephone friend with any queries they might have. We also work closely with the Age UK Safeguarding Team, ensuring that all older adults who are in contact with Age UK are safe from abuse and neglect, and the risk of it.