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Older Indian male volunteer in hospital setting.

Government funding to help pilot, develop and share better ways of supporting older volunteers

The Centre for Ageing Better will award Government funding of up to £250,000 to pilot better ways to sustain lifelong involvement in voluntary and community activities and attract more diverse older volunteers.

An age-friendly, inclusive approach to supporting volunteers would enable people to continue contributing to their community through major life changes like illness or bereavement.

The Centre for Ageing Better will award a total of £250,000 funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to five ‘demonstrator’ projects that pilot, develop and share new approaches to age-friendly and inclusive volunteering.

Charities are invited from today to bid for funding to develop and document models of good practice which sustain lifelong contribution, keep people connected to voluntary opportunities and activities, or provide practical support for older people who are currently excluded.

The fund is launched off the back of a review of community contributions in later life, conducted by the Centre for Ageing Better in partnership with the Office for Civil Society in DCMS, published last month.

The review called on charities, voluntary organisations and the public sector to do more to support the contributions of people in later life. It found that many older people face barriers to taking part or staying involved, which can worsen as people age and their circumstances change, leading to many being locked out of participating in activities that matter to them.

The review recommended stronger action to enable people to take part and stay involved as they grow older and experience major life events such as ill health, bereavement or caring for loved ones. It also found that charities need to do more to widen participation from groups who are less likely to volunteer, including those who are less financially secure, in poorer health or from a BAME background.

The funding will support up to five pilot projects to develop and document new approaches to addressing these challenges. Charities which are experienced in incorporating flexible working practices for volunteers, supporting community led action or tackling barriers that prevent people from taking part are encouraged to apply, with the funding being awarded in March 2019.

The Centre for Ageing Better will work with charities awarded the funding to document and evaluate their projects so that others can learn from and replicate successful approaches.

We had a brilliant response to our call for applications to the Age-friendly and inclusive volunteering fund with almost 200 applications received.

The shortlisted organisations have all been contacted and we will announce the successful applicants in March 2019.

If you haven’t heard from us you haven’t been shortlisted. We thank all applicants for their interest and submissions.