Why are we doing this?
In a number of countries, there are opportunities to participate in ‘domestic gap years’ - as a form of structured national service commonly aimed at young people. Great examples come from across the world from German Zivi’s to AmeriCorps. These models have been inspiring new forms of social action for young people here in the UK, for example with the replication of City Year from the US or the development of National Citizens Service in England.
But these types of opportunities are not just for young people. In the US nearly 270,000 people aged over 55 take part in one of three Senior Corp Programmes - Grandparents, Senior Companions, and RSVP, each year. Last year 840,000 older people received support from Senior Corp volunteers to remain independent in their homes, and more than 267,000 young people received tutoring and mentoring that improved their academic performance, self-esteem, and overall social behaviour.
This is a huge contribution to society. But it also has a huge impact on the lives of the people volunteering. Senior Corps members commonly report having a greater sense of purpose and achievement, having an increased sense of belonging and connection in the community, and developing new contacts and friendships. Research also shows that volunteering as we age can have benefits way beyond this too; from health improvement and disease prevention, increased well-being and mental health, decreased isolation and loneliness, and positive impacts on self-confidence and self-esteem. Volunteering is increasingly seen as a fantastic enabler of a happy and healthy life as we age.
But these forms of ‘intensive volunteering placements’ are relatively rare in the UK. We want to explore the potential of more intensive volunteering opportunities, and what it would take to motivate, recruit and support people aged over 50 to be able to share their time and talents in this different way. This is an exciting opportunity for organisations to be able to develop and test new innovations, that mobilise people’s time and talents in extraordinary ways.
What are we doing?
The Give More Get More Fund is a partnership between Nesta and the Office for Civil Society. We will support organisations to develop and test intensive volunteering placements for people during, or as they approach, retirement, that create clear impact alongside public services. For example, you might be a hospital that can offer placements for three months for people to radically improve patients’ well-being and outcomes, or a charity who can create intensive placements for people in schools to improve literacy and attainment. Or you might have a different idea altogether.
We will provide financial and non-financial support to around five organisations or partnerships, based in England. Successful applicants will receive financial support of up to £100,000 and significant non-financial support to develop and prototype their ideas, before running the placements.
We will work with organisations from February to May 2017 to develop and prototype their intensive volunteering ideas. From June 2017 to March 2018 you will then pilot your intensive volunteering opportunities with at least 100 people carrying out at least 150 hours of high impact volunteering each (e.g. full time over a two-three month period, or three days a week over a four month period).
We will also work with organisations to design ways to evaluate the success of the approaches, and the impact of the placements for volunteers and beneficiaries.
What we're looking for
We looked for organisations that:
- are passionate about the opportunity that ‘intensive volunteering placements’ can bring to their work, and are interested in developing an innovative new approach
- can demonstrate a commitment to mobilising the time and talents of at least 100 people to carry out at least 150 hours high impact volunteering over an intense period (e.g. full time over a two to three month period, or three days a week over a four-month period)
- have a track record in mobilising the time and talents of volunteers (this doesn’t necessarily have to be older volunteers)
- can demonstrate that they have appropriate networks or channels to reach out to people approaching, or who are already, retired.
- have a clearly identified priority outcome(s) and a persuasive case of why mobilising the time and talents of people over 50 in intensive placements will make a difference to this outcome. (e.g improving primary school literacy, supporting older people to remain at home and independent etc.)
- have staff already in place to lead this work (rather than relying on new appointments) so you can hit the ground running
- be a public service, or can demonstrate a clear alignment to public service priorities
- have a commitment to being part of a fast-paced and creative innovation process, and are supported by a competent management team who are open to challenge and support
- have a commitment to measuring their performance and progressing against our Standards of Evidence
- are able to demonstrate that the benefits of their proposals is in England only
If you have any questions about the fund that are not answered on our website please email [email protected].