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Community allotment, Gorsehill, Greater Manchester

Contributing to communities

We want more people in later life to take up opportunities to contribute their skills, knowledge and experience to their communities.

Voluntary activities, formal civic roles and small acts of neighbourliness can all contribute significantly to wellbeing and social connections in later life.

Contributing to communities introduction video
It makes you feel worthwhile. If you work in a job for a long time and then retire, then you need to get that self-worth from somewhere else.

We want to support more people in later life to take up opportunities to contribute their skills, knowledge and experience to their communities – especially people who are less well-off or in worse health. 

Most people of all ages already make a contribution to their community. However, people in later life who are less well-off, or in worse health, are much less likely to contribute their time and talents, even though they are more likely to benefit as a result. We also know that these people are most likely to benefit from improving their social connections and wellbeing through making a contribution. 

We want to help people in later life who want to contribute their skills, knowledge and experience to help others, but who face particular challenges and barriers.

Field of flowers in an allotment

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.

What we’re working on

We have commissioned Office for Public Management (OPM) to investigate the barriers, enablers and opportunities for volunteering by disadvantaged people in later life. Working with communities across four urban and rural locations in Bristol, Leeds and North Yorkshire, this research will explore how poverty, place, ethnicity and health impact on voluntary activity in later life. The community-led research will focus on practical steps for local public and voluntary sector organisations to better support what people are already doing, as well as lessons that can be applied more widely.

We are leading a review in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport into how to enable more people aged 50 and over to contribute their time, skills and experience to their communities, especially those who face particular barriers in taking part. We will gather evidence and explore possible ways of engaging and supporting people, both tried and tested approaches and promising new ideas. The review will generate recommendations for national and local government, the voluntary sector and businesses to help people in later life find meaningful ways to contribute to their communities.

Billy's voice

Billy sitting on his sofa.
Get involved
  • Are you are doing relevant research? 
  • Do you have ideas about how the Centre for Ageing Better can make the most difference? 
  • Do you share our ambitions and would like to explore how you could contribute or work with us? 
  • Please get in touch if you have information to contribute or ideas you'd like to share.