Decision time: will the voluntary sector embrace the age of opportunity?

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Commission on the Voluntary Sector and Ageing
Commission on the Voluntary Sector and Ageing
Date of publication
19 March 2015
Community Development and Regeneration, Older Adults
Social welfare
Material type

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The culmination of 18 months of research and events, this report highlights that the voluntary sector is currently not ready for our ageing society and needs to adapt to grasp the opportunities this will bring. It includes challenges and recommendations to ensure that the sector steps up to the age of opportunity. Suggestions include:

  • Charities should lead the charge to combat ageism—starting with their own practices. Fundraising material showing old people as lonely or needy may alienate potential supporters; limiting highly-skilled older volunteers to unskilled tasks may push them away altogether.
  • Charities should not ignore the ‘forgotten middle’—middle-aged people confronting the stresses of the ‘rush hour of life’. These are the supporters of the future, but who feel charities offer little support to them.  
  • Charities should plan and prepare for the changes in policy towards annuities, many of which come in on 1 April 2015. It is estimated that £5bn may be drawn down in the first three months alone, and the report argues both that charities have a role in giving advice to stop mis-selling but also to ensure that some of this money reaches the good causes that retirees care about most.

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