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£4m grants announced to boost volunteering by over 50s

£4m grants announced to boost volunteering by over 50s

The Office for Civil Society and Nesta have announced three new grant funds totalling £4 million to explore how more charities and public services can better tap into the skills and experience of volunteers aged over 50.

The three grant funds are the first to be funded by government through the second phase of the Centre for Social Action and will be managed by Nesta.

The three funds now open to application are:

  • The Second Half Fund – Sharing Time and Talents for Life: Will provide grants of up to £250,000 to support the growth of new ways of mobilising the time and talents of people aged over 50 specifically in support of: children and young people, parents and families, ageing well, creating resourceful and resilient local places.
  • Join In Stay In: Will award grants of up to £50,000 and significant non-financial support from behavioural science experts for organisations to undertake Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) to understand what works best to encourage volunteers to continue to give their time regularly.
  • Give More Get More – Exploring Intensive : Grants of up to £100,000 to support organisations to trial intensive placements for people over 50 – approaching or in retirement – that work alongside public services. These might include ‘gap years’, such as those VSO offers for experienced volunteers to give their time abroad.

More information and how to apply is via the Nesta website. The findings will be published in 2017 and 2018, and will be shared with policymakers and the public sector to help inform future volunteering programmes and initiatives.

The launch of the funds follows on from the Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund, a programme of work from Nesta and The Office for Civil Society that mobilised volunteers to work alongside public services. The three-year programme rallied more than 70,000 people to help 176,000 people including helping the unemployed get back into work, peer mentoring for young people online and imparting emergency lifesaving skills to high risk young people.

Vicki Sellick, director in Nesta’s Innovation Lab, said:

“We know that many over 50s are already generously giving their time to help others. Given that those that do report far higher levels of wellbeing, and that more local communities could benefit hugely from their skills, we want to see how we can bring to bear the talents and experience that the over 50s possess to benefit even more people.”

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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