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Age-friendly and inclusive volunteering fund

The Age-friendly and inclusive volunteering fund has been set up to develop and document models of good practice in supporting older people’s voluntary and community activity.

It follows the recent publication of 'Age-friendly and inclusive volunteering: Review of community contributions in later life' produced in partnership with the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport.

The call for applications is now closed. For more information about our work on age-friendly volunteering please visit our Contribution to communities page.

Director of Innovation and Change, Dan Jones, explains the fund in this video:

The Centre for Ageing Better's Director of Innovation and Change, Dan Jones.

Successful projects will:

  • Sustain lifelong contributions and help people remain involved throughout major life changes such as bereavement, caring or developing a health condition;
  • Help people connect to and take part in voluntary activities and opportunities that suit their life circumstances, including informal and self-organised contributions; and/or
  • Provide practical support to include older people who currently face barriers to volunteering (for example due to health, language, cultural or social factors).

It follows the recent publication of Age-friendly and inclusive volunteering: Review of community contributions in later life by the Centre for Ageing Better in partnership with the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS). The review found that many older people who would benefit most from contributing to their communities encounter practical, structural and emotional barriers which prevent them from taking part, or from remaining involved as life changes. It called on voluntary organisations to do more to tackle these barriers. 

This fund seeks to stimulate new approaches and identify good practice that other organisations can learn from and replicate.

Location: England

Suitable for: Voluntary or community organisations or social enterprises – the lead applicant must be a registered charity or community interest company.

Funding size: Up to five grants of approximately £40,000 to £60,000 each, from a total fund of up to £250,000.

Funding period: Awards will be made in March 2019 with initiatives funded for up to 12 months (until end March 2020). Grantees must be ready to start project work immediately in April 2019.

Application deadline: 10 December 2018 at 12 noon.

Application process: Applicants should complete the online application form by 12 noon on 10 December 2018.

We will assess these applications and shortlist a small number of applicants for the second stage. Shortlisted applicants will be informed by 18 December 2018.

A workshop will be held for shortlisted applicants in the week of 7 January 2019. Shortlisted applicants will then have two weeks to revise their applications. We will conduct due diligence assessments in parallel.

An assessment panel will consider the revised applications and due diligence assessments. Final decisions will be made in February 2019.

Ageing Better reserves the right to vary this timetable. Applicants should consult the Frequently asked questions at the bottom of this page to ensure that they have the latest information on timings and process.

Our priorities

The Age-friendly and inclusive volunteering fund is a partnership between DCMS and the Centre for Ageing Better set up in response to our review of community contributions in later life. It will support initiatives that put the principles of age-friendly and inclusive volunteering set out in the review into practice.

We want to fund voluntary or community organisations or social enterprises to develop and document replicable, sustainable models that address one or more of the following priorities:

1. Helping people to sustain lifelong contributions

Ways of managing and supporting volunteers which enable people in later life to vary their helping role, location and level of commitment up and down as their circumstances change.

'When life changes, I can adjust my commitment without feeling I’ve let anyone down.'

This could include models to help people:

  • Start, stop or pause volunteering but remain connected if they want
  • Take part at times that are convenient to them (rather than at regular, set times)
  • Take up one-off opportunities to get involved
  • Get involved in specific tasks rather than commit to full roles
  • Maintain involvement at particular times of life transition (e.g. moving house, bereavement, onset of health condition, etc)
    2. Helping people connect to the kinds of activity that suit their life circumstances

    Connections and collaborations that support a wide range of voluntary activity (from formal volunteering to informal / self-organised community activity and acts of neighbourliness) and that make it easier for people in later life to find and move between different kinds of activity.

    'I can find the right opportunity for me that’s taking place in the right place and with the right people.'

    This could include models that:

    • Build links between formal volunteer-involving organisations and informal community, faith or interest-based groups
    • Broaden the use of local spaces (e.g. to bring different groups and generations together)
    • Link informal activity within communities to more formal contributions
    • Make best use of and share local assets and resources (e.g. shared back-office systems, local volunteer brokering or passport schemes, etc)
    3. Helping people who face particular barriers to taking part

    Tailored support for people in later life who face particular barriers that prevent them from taking part and staying involved, especially those with long-term health conditions, caring responsibilities or other characteristics that put them at risk of missing out.

    ‘I have the support I need to get and stay involved – and I know who to turn to with any questions.’

    This could include models that:

    • Provide flexible and supportive opportunities
    • Build capacity for self-help, peer-support groups
    • Address barriers (practical, structural, emotional) that prevent people from taking part and staying involved 

    Our focus is on age-friendly approaches. We are not necessarily looking for activities that explicitly target older volunteers, but rather for models that are welcoming and inclusive of people in later life (aged 50 and above) in all their diversity. 

    Why is this fund important?

    The review of community contributions in later life and the Government’s strategy ‘A connected society: a strategy for tackling loneliness’ found that helping others benefits those who contribute and the communities they are part of. 

    However, many people who could benefit most from participating in and making a contribution to their local community in later life are currently missing out – for example, people with long-term health conditions or limited social connections.

    The review identified some key barriers which stand in their way. These include practical issues such as physical access or the cost of participation; structural barriers, such as inflexible volunteering offers that do not accommodate personal circumstances such as health or caring responsibilities; and emotional challenges such as ageist attitudes and lack of confidence. These barriers can become harder to overcome as people experience life transitions such as bereavement, becoming a carer, or developing a limiting health condition. 

    This fund is an opportunity to try out new approaches to tackling these barriers and develop new models of practice – especially in terms of sustaining lifelong involvement, connecting people to the widest range of opportunities, and taking more systematic approaches to inclusion. 

    The review also found that many people in later life who currently do not take part in more formal voluntary activity are involved in providing informal help and support in their communities, through local community groups or simply being neighbourly. Through the fund we would like to support models that encourage collaboration between local groups and organisations, enabling people to move between different kinds of community contribution, and to access the support they need, whatever kinds of voluntary activity or organisation they are involved in.

    What are we looking for? 

    We welcome applications for projects based in England, to develop approaches to working with people in later life that address one or more of the three priorities of the Age-friendly and inclusive volunteering fund, as set out above.

    The purpose of the funding is to create sustainable and replicable models – we want grantees to set up partnerships, processes or systems or ways of working that they can continue to operate beyond the period of our funding, and which other organisations working with volunteers can learn from and apply to their own work. 

    We are not expecting applicants to develop a new model from scratch and establish it as an ongoing way of working within 12 months. Instead, we anticipate that grantees will use our funding to build on their existing work with volunteers and community groups, for example by: 

    • Taking pockets of promising practice and developing them further / more systematically, or extending them to other groups, settings or organisations
    • Bringing together different good practices to create new / improved solutions 
    • Extending existing initiatives to reach different people, especially those at risk of missing out
    • Bringing people and organisations together to develop new collaborations and try out new ways of working
    • Taking action to tackle barriers to inclusion and widen participation in existing activities, especially by people in later life who are at risk of missing out
    • Rethinking volunteer journeys or volunteer management approaches to address the barriers identified in the review

    We are seeking models that will be of wider interest to others in the sector – for example: 

    • Ways to attract new kinds of volunteer or reach new groups / communities
    • Solutions that reduce or share the cost / effort of volunteer management
    • Solutions with limited ongoing running costs
    • Cost-sharing models or other ways to support sustainability

    We will support grantees to document the models they develop, and their learning from the process of development and testing, so that others can understand what’s involved and how to apply these models to their own work. We will also commission an evaluation to help us assess how far each project has actually generated more flexible / inclusive opportunities for contribution, and what this means for people in later life who are taking part. 

    We are looking for applicants who are open to learning; committed to sharing their work with us and our evaluators, including challenges and difficulties as well as successes; and who will work with us to describe the model they develop so that other organisations can learn from their experience.  

    As well as allocating time to documenting their own learning, we expect grantees to participate in approximately five days of events to share learning with other grantees. 

    Who should apply?

    We can fund:

    • Charities registered in England and Wales
    • Community Interest Companies limited by guarantee and registered with Companies House

    We can’t fund:

    • Organisations based outside the UK, or activities taking place outside England
    • Individuals or sole traders
    • Applications made on behalf of another organisation, although we welcome applications seeking to build stronger relationships and collaborations between different organisations
    • Organisations aimed at generating profits primarily for private distribution
    • Organisations that are mainly fundraising bodies 
    • Schools, colleges or hospitals
    • Statutory or public bodies

    Your application must also satisfy the following conditions:

    Financial stability and controls:

    • You must have a UK bank account in your organisation’s name which requires at least two signatories to authorise expenditure
    • The value of the grant requested must not be more than 50% of your annual income
    • You must have at least three months' unrestricted operating reserves 
    • You must have at least two people who are not connected or related to each other or to members of staff on your board or management committee

    Delivery:

    • You can demonstrate that you are ready to start work on the project immediately in April 2019
    • You can demonstrate how the project will contribute to your organisation’s core work – we do not want to fund ‘one-off’ initiatives that end with our funding
    • You can demonstrate that you are positioned to bring together a range of people and organisations to identify and work towards collaborative solutions – for example, a track record of collaboration / partnership working, or statements of support from potential partners 
    • Shortlisted applicants must provide a full budget, activity and expenditure plan and be ready to spend from April 2019

    Learning:

    • You must make a commitment to documenting and sharing the evidence, data and learning from your project, and to working with the Centre for Ageing Better to produce guidance materials / products to help other organisations to replicate your approach
    • You must make a commitment to provide Ageing Better with regular activity and expenditure updates, and to share your learning from the project with Ageing Better and with other grantees
    • You must make a commitment to participate in learning activities and to apply learning to adapt your initiative / approach during the project
    • You must make a commitment to work with Ageing Better and our evaluation / learning support providers throughout the lifetime of the funding 

    Equalities: 

    • You can demonstrate how you will involve people in later life who are at risk of missing out on opportunities to contribute – e.g. carers, people with long-term health conditions, people from excluded groups
    • You can demonstrate how you will safeguard any children or vulnerable adults who participate in your project as volunteers, service users or community members
    • You can demonstrate how you will ensure non-discrimination and promote diversity in your project, and where relevant how your project will foster good relations between people who share a Protected Characteristic under the Equalities Act 2010 and people who do not share it
    What can you spend the money on?

    We can fund the revenue costs of your project, for example:

    • Staff time 
    • Costs of meetings and convening stakeholders and participants (e.g. venue, travel, catering) 
    • Training 
    • Other running costs (e.g. publicity, costs of facilitation or support, transport / logistics, stationery and consumable supplies, printing etc)

    We want to fund the true costs of staff time, including participation in documenting your model and sharing your learning. You should also include a reasonable allocation of staff time for management and oversight as well as delivery of the project itself. 

    You must provide an activity and expenditure plan showing how and when you will spend the money. Grants must be fully spent by March 2020 at the latest. 

    We can’t fund: 

    • Capital costs such as IT equipment or vehicles
    • Party political, lobbying or religious activities
    • Costs of fundraising activities or general marketing of the organisation 
    • Costs of providing statutory duties or services, or other activities separately funded by another public sector body
    • Interest, lease, hire purchase or other financing payments
    • Reclaimable VAT charges (where you are able to reclaim the VAT charged to you against VAT payments which you are eligible to make to HMRC)
    • Fines, bad debts, compensation payments or similar penalties 

    Grants cannot be used to deliver existing work that is fully funded from another source.

    Due diligence

    At initial application stage, you will be asked to confirm that you meet the criteria outlined above (including confirming your organisational status, financial position and controls, and your equalities and safeguarding policies).

    All shortlisted applicants will be required to provide:

    • Your articles of association or other governing document
    • Your most recent annual report audited accounts
    • Contact details and indications of support from organisations you plan to work with

    The Centre for Ageing Better may also require sight of other documentation related to our funding criteria as part of our due diligence before any offer of funding is confirmed.

    PDF version of the guidance

    Download

    Frequently asked questions

    The responses below are designed to help provide more clarity about the fund and to respond to any specific questions not covered in the guidance.

    What is Ageing Better looking for?

    Watch the the video to find out what we are looking for.

    We are looking for applications from organisations experienced in helping people to keep making a contribution throughout life transitions, supporting community-led action or tackling barriers that prevent people from taking part. You will need to show how your project idea relates to one of the three priorities of the fund:

    1. Helping people to sustain lifelong contributions
    2. Helping people connect to the kinds of activity that suit their life circumstances
    3. Helping people who face particular barriers to taking part

    The purpose of the funding is to create sustainable and replicable models. We want to fund organisations to establish systems, partnerships or ways of working with volunteers and communities that will last beyond the period of our funding, and that will be of wider interest to others in the sector. You will need to show how you will use the funding to develop and document a model that other people can learn from and apply.

    Applicants should be open to learning and committed to sharing their work with us, our evaluators and the wider sector.

    What is Ageing Better not looking for?

    We are not expecting applicants to develop a new model from scratch, as you will only have a year to establish your model as an ongoing way of working. You will need to show how your project idea will contribute to the existing work of your organisation.

    We are also not able to fund continuing work – for example, we can’t provide funding simply to keep an existing volunteering programme running for another year, but you could apply for funding to make your current work more systematic and sustainable, or to take a pocket of good practice and extend it across all your work.

    Who can apply?

    Registered charities and Community Interest Companies (CICs) are eligible to apply.

    Can other types of organisation apply for funding?

    No, however we anticipate that charities and CICs that apply will work with a range of organisations including local authorities, NHS Trusts, small community groups, faith institutions etc to develop and test their models.

    Can we use funding from the Age-friendly and inclusive volunteering fund in addition to money from other sources?

    Yes. But it is not a requirement.

    Is there any flexibility in the application deadline?

    No. Applications must be received by Monday 10 December at 12 noon. However, the Centre for Ageing Better reserves the right to vary the timetable set out in the guidelines.

    Is there any flexibility in when we can run the project?

    No. You must be ready to start your work at the beginning of April 2019 and the model must have been developed, tested and documented by the end of March 2020.

    Can an organisation submit more than one application?

    We would prefer a single high-quality bid from each organisation applying, but there is no reason an organisation cannot submit more than one application.

    How much money can we apply for?

    We anticipate funding applications in the region of approximately £40 - £60,000. The value of the grant requested should not exceed 50% of your annual income.

    Can this funding pay for capital costs?

    No.

    Do we need to have match funding in place?

    No. This is not a requirement. You may include funding from other sources in your budget, however this will not be a factor in the assessment of your project.

    What does Ageing Better expect from us in evaluating and monitoring our work?

    We expect successful applicants to work with Ageing Better and our evaluators / learning support providers throughout the funding period. We will work with you to document the model(s) you develop and what you have learned from the process of development and testing, so that others can understand what’s involved and how to apply these models to their own work. 

    To support this, we expect grantees to participate in around five days of events or activities to share learning with other grantees.

    We will also commission an evaluation to help us assess how far each project has generated more flexible / inclusive opportunities for contribution, and what this means for the participants.

    What due diligence will Ageing Better do?

    For applicants at the first stage, we ask you to provide the information asked for in the application form.

    For applicants who are shortlisted, we will ask you to provide more information prior to the workshop being held in week commencing 7 January 2019, so please keep an eye out for our request. These will include (but may not be restricted to):

    • Articles of association or other governing documents
    • Most recent annual report audited accounts
    • Details of contacts and indications of support from organisations you intend to work with

    How does Ageing Better expect us to work with older people?

    Ageing Better’s work starts with the person. What we do is rooted in what matters to people as they prepare for and experience later life. We expect those who receive funding from us to work in the same way. 

    Will there be a spread of locations and topic areas?

    We will be funding projects based on the quality of applications rather than where they are based or what they are focused on.

    PDF version of the Frequently asked questions

    Download