Silver Stories and Alertacall: the perfect partnership
Sometimes a simple idea works so well it deserves the widest possible audience. Silver Stories is one of those ideas, a new charity created by David Carney-Haworth OBE and his wife, Elisabeth Carney-Haworth OBE. David is a retired Police Sergeant. Elisabeth is a retired primary school Head Teacher and Educationalist with over 40 years’ experience. Together they have created the charity which enables children who are new readers, (the “Silver Readers”) to ring up older people (the “Silver Listeners”) and read aloud to them. In the five short years since Silver Stories was launched, they have already proved how valuable it can be, as the children gain enormously in confidence as readers, and the older people love this regular contact with children.
David and Elisabeth launched the idea in 2015 because they understand the loneliness that can be felt by many older people, all too often separated from the younger generation. And yet Elisabeth and David have witnessed first-hand how magical the relationship between the generations can be. Older people often suffer from isolation and desperately miss the company of children. The children gain from the experience too. Silver Readers enjoy the opportunity to read to someone who doesn’t judge them but enjoys listening to them. Even at the age of six or seven, they feel real pride in having given so much pleasure. A and their families tell us their reading skills improve. A simple idea, but with real benefits.
So how does “Silver Stories” work?
Initially, the links between the Silver Readers and the Silver Listeners were organised by a school, with plans to roll out the programme to involve more schools across the country. However, the pandemic and the resulting lock-down meant there was even more need, as schools were closing, and older people were more isolated than ever. So they found new ways of publicizing the service, and found other ways to link the Silver Readers, individually and through school participation, with their appreciative Silver Listeners.
- Phone calls take place when it is convenient for the Silver Listener and the Silver Reader
- Calls take place in the presence of a class teacher or, if from the child’s home, the presence of the parent/carer
- The children read short stories or, a chapter from a longer book or a poem
Silver Stories registered as a charity at the beginning of 2020 and is proud to have Dame Esther Rantzen as a Trustee. The Charity’s creators were awarded Points of Light by the Prime Minister for their work.
Have a look at the Silver Stories website for further information.