A NEW free and confidential helpline to help the islands' elderly combat loneliness is being backed by Scilly's council.
Community services chairman Richard McCarthy said of the Silver Line charity launched recently by Esther Rantzen: "We are committed to finding ways of improving the everyday lives of vulnerable residents on the islands and believe services like this could make a positive difference."
Silver Line offers advice on friendship, social groups and services, as well as regular befriending calls.
Gareth Peters, Scilly's adult social care manager said: "Loneliness can be a real issue for residents on Scilly.
"The feedback we receive shows what a difference social interaction can make, and the fantastic work done by Island Response and other caring residents here is a great help."
Should the capacity in Scilly's old folks' home, Park House, be exhausted islanders would, on a temporary basis, have to be accommodated on the mainland.
This was said by community services director Penny Penn Howard in answer to councillor Gordon Bilsborough's observation that the home was currently full and that "we have the spectre of having to go to the mainland".
"The islands hospital is very helpful in such situations," assured Mrs Penn Howard. "It's a balancing act but we all try to work together."