The Commission had an ambitious aim: to encourage charities and funders of all types, not just those working with older people, to consider how the ageing population will affect their organisation. This strategic thinking covered volunteering, funding, governance, services and partnerships, and looked ahead at the next 10 and 20 years to think through how the sector can prepare and adapt.
There were three strands to the Commission’s work:
• Building an understanding of how ageing will affect the sector: through research, analysis and futures thinking.
• Engaging sector leaders in thinking about the implications of ageing for their organisations: through events, awareness-raising, consultation and dialogue.
• Enabling the sector to respond and adapt to ageing: through practical recommendations, exploring different approached and sharing best practice.
This initiative provides just the kick-start that the voluntary sector needs to embrace the demographic changes and opportunities ahead.
The Commissioners on the project, included: Lynne Berry OBE, Steven Burke, Ken Burnett, Dan Corry, James Cochrane, Kristina Glenn MBE, Keji Okeowo, Javed Khan, Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Professor Paul Palmer, and Sonia Sodha.
In March 2015, the Commission issued its final report and completed its formal work Decision time: Will the voluntary sector embrace the age of opportunity?
A number of charities committed to incorporating the questions and recommendations into their strategic planning, including NCVO, Age UK, NIACE (National Institute of Adult Continuing Education) and Grandparents Plus.
— Vol Sec Ageing (@VolSecAgeing) July 13, 2016
— FriendsOfTheElderly (@FriendsElderly) 19 March 2015
This is an important report, a wake-up call to the sector to think radically and differently.
The final report of the Commission on the Voluntary Sector & Ageing—highlighting that the voluntary sector is currently not ready for our ageing society and that new work is needed to ensure that we step up to the age of opportunity and the opportunities this will bring.
This first discussion paper from the Commission on the Voluntary Sector & Ageing issues a challenge to the sector to engage with the debate and start preparing for the societal changes ahead.
Our ageing population means we face huge changes in how people live their lives. This is an opportunity for the voluntary sector but, in order to make the most of it, it too must change. One year since the Commission on the Voluntary Sector & Ageing published its final report, its chair Lynne Berry OBE reminds us of the importance of this work.
What are the implications of an ageing society for the voluntary sector in England? It’s a big question, but as society experiences falling birth rates and steep growth in the number of people over 60 in the next 20 years, it’s one which the sector needs to consider.