Businessman appointed as trustee to Esther Rantzen's charity

ONE of Cumbria’s leading entrepreneurs has been appointed as trustee to a national charity which was founded by TV star Dame Esther Rantzen.

James Batchelor, the businessman and inventor behind Windermere-based Alertacall, will support The Silver Line in his new role.

The charity was founded by Dame Esther in 2013, and was inspired by the loneliness she experienced after the death of her husband, the BBC producer Desmond Wilcox.

James said: “The Silver Line is the real deal, a direct-action charity that genuinely changes the lives of older people. Its overheads are low and that means you can have confidence that any money you donate to it, really will help older people feel connected, and part of the real world again.

“It's a privilege to be invited to join The Silver Line and to be able to support something so important."

The Silver Line operates the only confidential, free helpline for older people available across the UK which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week - and since being launched has received more than five million calls.

After interviews with existing Trustees, James was invited to become a Trustee of The Silver Line in January 2019 by Sophie Andrews, the CEO of the charity, who has overseen the growth of the organisation to several hundred team members based in London and Blackpool, and a network of thousands of volunteers.

Mrs Andrews said: "It's wonderful news that James is able to join The Silver Line as a Trustee. He has been a keen and helpful supporter of the charity for several years, is an expert on the ageing population and also an incredible source of ideas about how we can grow the charity - and do so sustainably.

“We're delighted to have him on board and his experience will be invaluable."

James, of Windermere, has helped to create a number of successful ventures over the last 25 years and for the last decade has been focused on creating clever ways to improve contact for older people through the award-winning business Alertacall, which employs around 70 people.

Inspired originally by the needs of his own grandmother who was called Eveline - James made over 60,000 phone calls to older people and visited 1,000 in their own homes over several years to understand their needs, and so that he could invent ways to improve daily contact for them.

James has extended an invitation to individuals or organisations who want to support The Silver Line and its great work, either by donating to it or developing partnerships, saying he would be happy to facilitate introductions to the right people within the charity.

If you are or know of an older person who would enjoy the chance to speak to someone confidentially for advice, and friendship - The Silver Line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0800 4 70 80 90.