What would you do with 100,000 extra hours?
Many more of us are going to live to be 100. With each day our life expectancy is said to increase by five hours. Yet it is still common to hear this only talked about as a crisis or ticking timebomb. The expected shift in demographics will no doubt create challenges. But, it should also act as a prompt for us to realise the most from the extraordinary good fortune of living at a time when so many have the prospect of extra years of life.
Those who live to 100 will have around 100,000 extra productive hours. Just imagine the possibilities of what can be achieved with this additional time, even if we don’t quite get to 100. As we age we also accumulate a huge range of skills, experience and wisdom. How we choose to spend this time and accumulated talent, could have a profound impact not only for each of us as individuals, but also more broadly on our society.
The role of social action in the second half of our lives
We believe that social action, or giving your time in the service of others, is an important component of how we choose to spend our time and talents as we age. There are three reasons why we think this is the case:
- Evidence increasingly shows that giving your time in the service of others is linked to the key factors associated with ageing successfully (for example, volunteering can provide a sense of purpose, increase well-being and help people to feel connected to others).**
- Many people enjoy giving their time. We hear lots of accounts of how this has provided people with the opportunity to follow their passions and interests in new ways outside of their career, family or caring responsibilities.
- People in the second half of their life represent an extraordinary source of talent, which if harnessed can be directed to tackle some of the greatest challenges facing society.
We know that many people over 50 already give their time and talents, changing the lives of individuals and communities across our country. Around 5.4 million people over 50 formally volunteer at least once a month, with around 6.5 million people over 50 estimated to volunteer informally at least once a month. But as the Commission for Ageing and the Voluntary Sector and others have suggested, we must not take these contributions for granted, and seize the opportunity to innovate and create new ways to support people to make the most of their second half.
The Second Half Fund
Last week we launched the Second Half Fund, as we want to see how we can bring to bear the talents and experiences that people over 50 possess to benefit even more people. We are searching for the best innovations that create impact in one of our four priority areas (children and young people; parents and family; older people; and resourceful and resilient communities), and are ready to scale up their innovation to reach many more people, by harnessing the time and talents of people over 50.
We know that there are lots of great innovations that have already developed and tested their idea. Yet, far too often these innovations are not able to meet their full potential. Time and time again, we see that it can be a huge leap for innovations to go from working in one city to two; or from working with a handful of schools to reaching 10, 20 or 100. We want to work with the best innovations to bridge this gap, helping to change their trajectory - enabling them to mobilise many more people over 50 to make an impact for many more people.
Express your interest by 31st October 2016
We will provide grants of between £50,000-£250,000, alongside non-financial support, to 12-18 organisations (or partnerships), that already have some evidence that their innovation is making a difference, and are now ready to scale. We will work with organisations for around two years, to create a step change in their growth.
If this sounds right for you, take a look at the full details of the Second Half Fund and complete the Expression of Interest by midday on the 31 October 2016.
We are holding two webinars if you would like to discuss the Second Half Fund before applying. Please register in advance of these sessions by clicking on the link:
Otherwise, if you have any questions please email [email protected]
**Examples of some of the interesting studies and research in this field include Young-joo Lee & Jeffrey L. Brudney, “The impact of volunteering on successful ageing: a review with implications for programme design”, The Journal Institute for Voluntary Research, 9:1 (2008), pp.21-35.); M. Musick & J. Wilson, “Volunteering and depression: the role of the psychological and social resources in different age groups”, Social Science & Medicine, 52:2, p 259-69; M. van Willigen, “Differential benefits of volunteering across the life course”, Journal of Gerontology Social Sciences, 55B:5, p S308-s18; Lagnol, A. C., & Huppert, F. A. (2010) ‘Happy to help? Exploring the factors associated with variations in rates of volunteering across Europe.’ Social Indicators Research, 97: 157-176; and Helping Out a National Survey of Volunteering and Charitable Giving. to name a few.