New guide to supporting older volunteers released

A new online guide and webinar have been released to help charities support age-friendly and inclusive volunteering.

Chrissy Chiu | 4th Jun 19
Image credit: The Centre for Ageing Better

The Centre for Ageing Better has released a new online guide to supporting, recruiting and retaining older volunteers as part of National Volunteers’ Week.

The guide targets charities and other organisations to adopt more age-friendly and inclusive practices, as based on a review into community contributions in later life carried out in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The Age-Friendly and Inclusive Volunteering guide features six principles which help to reduce barriers and enhance inclusion and participation, along with practical examples. Offering more flexibility, providing socialising opportunities, and making use of volunteer’s individual strengths are some of the recommended principles. In addition, the guide also provides advice on how to recruit, support, and retain older volunteers.

Rachel Monaghan, Programme Manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Older people make a huge contribution to their communities through volunteering, whether that’s helping out friends and neighbours or giving time regularly in more formal roles.”

“Volunteering isn’t just crucial for sustaining the activities of many organisations, it’s also a really important way for people to stay in touch with the people around them and to keep doing the things they love in later life.”

“But there’s a real risk that people are locked out of these opportunities. Our guide can help organisations reliant on volunteers to support them so they are motivated to join and stay.”

To mark the launch of the guide, the Centre for Ageing Better are also hosting a free interactive webinar on Thursday 6th June for organisations supporting volunteers to join the conversation around age-friendly and inclusive volunteering.

 

New approaches to age-friendly volunteering

The Age-Friendly and Inclusive Volunteering guide is based on a previous on a review called “Age-friendly and inclusive volunteering: Review of community contributions later in life.” The review was carried by the Centre for Ageing Better, in cooperation with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport.

The review cautioned that material barriers to participation, for example, caring duties or life changing situations, put communities at risk of missing out on the contributions of older volunteers. They also face digital barriers.

The report also found that individuals over the age of 50 contributed significantly to the UK economy through volunteering – £43.4 billion between the years 2016-2017. Clearly the report showed not only the importance of older people volunteering to the economy, but also, highlighted solutions which could engage older people to volunteer.

On concluding the review, the Centre for Ageing Better was awarded over £250,000 of government funding to pursue pilots and share new approaches to age-friendly and inclusive volunteering.