Age of opportunity. Putting the ageing society of tomorrow on the agenda of the voluntary sector today

Apr 1, 2014 | REPORTS

A new study exploring the risks and opportunities facing the voluntary sector as a result of the UK’s ageing population.

This report was conducted by ILC-UK and NPC for the Commission on the Voluntary Sector & Ageing.
Tens of thousands more baby boomers are reaching retirement age every year, and by 2020 volunteering by people over 65 will reach a value of more than £15bn a year to UK charities. The most skilled, experienced and demanding cohort of older people are retiring in droves, and Age of Opportunity argues that charities urgently need to adapt to our ageing population to exploit this opportunity if they are to thrive in the future.

Age of Opportunity maps a set of future scenarios across a number of key themes, describing how charities might thrive or struggle in the future, depending on the choices they make now. The paper highlights key statistics on the voluntary sector and the ageing population, including:

• In 2010, the working hours given by older volunteers to UK charities was equivalent to £10bn. This will grow to over £15bn by 2020, adding a further £5bn to the value of volunteers over 65s.
• This is equivalent to a century of Red Nose Days–an event which takes two years to plan and thousands of people to make happen.
• In 2012, the number of people in the UK aged over 100 would only have filled 1/7 of Wembley Stadium. By 2033, they will fill Wembley Stadium almost to capacity.
• By 2035, life expectancy for men will reach nearly 84, and 87 for women.