The Age of Inclusion
This guide shares lessons for civil society and public sector organisations on how to design and deliver social action programmes that are more age-inclusive and age-friendly. It outlines some of the tactics and practical approaches that worked well for the innovations we have backed.
We are living longer than ever before, on average ten years longer than our parents’ generation and nearly two decades longer than our grandparents’. This is a startling achievement; our ageing society is set to transform every aspect of our lives from welfare and employment to family and community life.
How can we support people to thrive in later life? The Centre for Ageing Better's Evidence Review of Contributions in later life identifies good evidence that older adults who make voluntary contributions experience an increase in the quantity and quality of their social connections, an enhanced sense of purpose and self-esteem, and improved life satisfaction, happiness and wellbeing.
Between 2016 and 2020, Nesta and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) supported 36 organisations to develop more age-inclusive and age-friendly practice for their social action innovations. Approximately 25,000 people participated in social action to support the innovations to impact the lives of thousands of people.
Across the volunteer journey, we have drawn together experiences, approaches and tips from the different organisations experimenting with ways to increase age-inclusive and age-friendly practices. The most successful organisations found that, to be more age-inclusive and age-friendly in their approaches, they needed to:
- Prepare: set clear goals and the right organisational conditions
- Make aware: be inclusive in their marketing and outreach
- Make joining easy: create welcoming approaches and draw from individual strengths
- Participate: create a good experience that allowed people to grow and develop
- Renew: enable people to finish their involvement well and continuously improve the experience.