The UK is experiencing a huge demographic shift; it is estimated that while one-in-six of the UK population is currently aged 65 and over, by 2050 one-in-four will be. The scale and nature of changes brought about by an ageing society will present significant challenges and opportunities for all charities and their funders.
The Commission on Ageing and the Voluntary Sector will be chaired by Lynne Berry OBE who has extensive experience of both the charitable sector and of rethinking responses to ageing in her roles at the Charity Commission, General Social Care Council and WRVS.
The Commission will draw together existing research, engage and consult the sector through a series of events, work with voluntary organisations to develop answers as to how the sector can lead the way in adapting to an ageing population, and publish a final report with recommendations for the future.
Lynne Berry OBE, Chair of the Commission on Ageing and the Voluntary Sector, said:
‘People tend to think of ageing as a problem, whereas in fact it offers a huge array of opportunities for us all. It is exciting that older people are living longer and, in many cases, better lives. This is a great chance for society, the voluntary sector and individuals to rethink how we view ageing, and consider how we can harness the potential of this extraordinary social change.’
Dan Corry, Chief Executive of NPC, said:
‘We mustn’t make the mistake of thinking that ageing is just about older people—it will affect us as individuals and our society. This initiative will consider the impact that ageing has on the whole of the voluntary sector, from the obvious organisations that support older people to those less directly linked, but who for example may see changes in their workforce and funding as the population ages and the profile of older people changes.’
Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive of ILC-UK, said:
‘We hear almost daily of new examples of how society is failing to prepare for an ageing society. But the responsibility for adapting to demographic change does not lie exclusively with Government or indeed the private sector. The ageing of our society could represent a seismic shift for our voluntary sector, yet it is not clear we are responding adequately to the challenges.
‘Beneficiaries of charitable services may change, as will their needs. But charities are also likely to look at internal practices, whether fundraising techniques, employment and volunteering practices and campaigning strategies are suited to an older society, for example. This Commission will help charities adapt to an ageing society.’
Lynne Berry has written a blog on the launch of the Commission, available here.
The Commission's website is here.
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