Why are we doing this?
Many more of us are going to live to be 100 - each day our life expectancy increases by five hours. Those who live to 100 have around 100,000 extra productive hours. We know that purpose is key to happiness in the second half of life and so we want to encourage many more people to give their time, and their considerable skills and experience for good by volunteering.
Whether we call it formal or informal volunteering, giving, social action or simply 'people helping people', spending some of your time in the service of others is a deeply ingrained part of our culture. As a group, people aged over 50 already make a huge contribution to civic and civil society, through volunteering, charitable giving, voting and other forms of civic engagement, from petitioning to becoming councillors. But as our society changes we must not take this for granted, and create new ways for people to engage.
With the anticipated shifts in our population, our society is set to face enormous changes in the coming decades. The impact on our lives, careers, caring responsibilities and retirement are well documented, but the opportunities that this can bring for us as individuals, and for society, are frequently overlooked. We know that giving our time in the service of others has a huge impact on the quality of our lives as we age, and want to support many more people to make the most of their second half.
Research increasingly finds a range of benefits for us to take part in social action as we age, from health improvement and disease prevention, increased well-being and mental health, decreased isolation and loneliness, to positive impacts on self-confidence and self-esteem. Social action has a key role to play in the second half of our lives. We want to harness the considerable talents of more people as they enter the second half of their lives, to make an impact on the biggest social challenges we face.
What are we doing?
The Second Half Fund is a partnership between Nesta and the Office for Civil Society. We are looking to support the growth of innovations that mobilise the time and talents of many more people aged over 50, to help others, alongside public services in four key priority areas:
- Children and young people: People aged 50+ supporting and encouraging children and young people to succeed and find employment through social action.
- Parents and families: People aged 50+ supporting parents and families to nurture and encourage children and young people to be healthy and succeed.
- Ageing well: People aged 50+ supporting older people to age well.
- Resourceful and resilient places: People aged 50+ supporting resourceful and resilient neighbourhoods.
Find out more about each of our four priority areas.