Age-friendly and Inclusive Volunteering Fund

Status:  Open to applications

Application Deadline: 10 December 2018


Grants to support charities and community groups in England with initiatives that will tackle the barriers that might prevent older people from volunteering and contributing to their communities, thereby benefiting from this positive interaction. The fund seeks to stimulate new approaches and identify good practice that other organisations can learn from and replicate.


Fund Value: £ 250,000
Maximum Value: £ 60,000
Minimum Value: £ 40,000

Value Notes

Grants of between £40,000 and £60,000 are available for projects lasting up to 12 months.

There is a total fund value of £250,000 and up to five grants are expected to be awarded.

Extended Description

The Age-friendly and Inclusive Volunteering Fund has been set up by the Centre for Ageing Better to develop and document models of good practice in supporting older people’s voluntary and community activity.

The Fund has been created in response to the findings of the recent publication of Age-friendly and Inclusive Volunteering: Review of community contributions in later life by the Centre for Ageing Better in partnership with the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS), which noted that older people who would benefit most from contributing to their communities, are often prevented from doing so by practical, structural and emotional barriers. The Fund aims to support voluntary organisations and social enterprises in tackling these barriers and to stimulate new approaches and identify good practice that other organisations can learn from and replicate.

Grants are available to fund initiatives across England that will:

  • Sustain lifelong contributions and help people remain involved throughout major life changes such as bereavement, caring or developing a health condition.
  • Help people connect to and take part in voluntary activities and opportunities that suit their life circumstances, including informal and self-organised contributions.
  • Provide practical support to include older people who currently face barriers to volunteering (for example due to health, language, cultural or social factors).

Latest Information

The deadline for applications is 10 December 2018 (12 noon).                           

Key Criteria

Applications are accepted from voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises provided that the lead applicant is one of the following:

  • A charity registered in England and Wales.
  • A Community Interest Company limited by guarantee and registered with Companies House.

To be eligible applicants must:

  • Have a UK bank account in the organisation’s name, which requires at least two signatories to authorise expenditure.
  • Have an annual income of no more than 50% of the value of the grant requested.
  • Have at least three months' unrestricted operating reserves.
  • Have at least two people who are not connected or related to each other or to members of staff on the organisation's board or management committee.
  • Be able to demonstrate that they are ready to start work on the project immediately in April 2019.
  • Be able to demonstrate how the project will contribute to the organisation’s core work. (The funders do not want to fund ‘one-off’ initiatives.)
  • Be able to demonstrate that they are positioned to bring together a range of people and organisations to identify and work towards collaborative solutions – for example, a track record of collaboration / partnership working, or statements of support from potential partners.

Projects have to take place in England.

Eligible Expenditure

Funding is available for activities, taking place in England, to develop age friendly approaches to working with people in later life that address one or more of the following three priorities:

  • Helping people to sustain lifelong contributions - Projects that address ways of managing and supporting volunteers, which enable people in later life to vary their helping role, location and level of commitment as their circumstances change. This could include models to help people:
    • Start, stop or pause volunteering but remain connected if they want.
    • Take part at times that are convenient to them (rather than at regular, set times).
    • Take up one-off opportunities to get involved.
    • Get involved in specific tasks rather than commit to full roles.
    • Maintain involvement at particular times of life transition (eg moving house, bereavement, onset of health condition, etc)
  • Helping people connect to the kinds of activity that suit their life circumstances - Projects to establish connections and collaborations that support a wide range of voluntary activity (from formal volunteering to informal/self-organised community activity and acts of neighbourliness) and that make it easier for people in later life to find and move between different kinds of activity. This could include models that:
    • Build links between formal volunteer-involving organisations and informal community, faith or interest-based groups.
    • Broaden the use of local spaces (eg to bring different groups and generations together).
    • Link informal activity within communities to more formal contributions.
    • Make best use of and share local assets and resources (eg shared back-office systems, local volunteer brokering or passport schemes, etc).
  • Helping people who face particular barriers to taking part - Projects that provide tailored support for people in later life who face particular barriers that prevent them from taking part and staying involved, especially those with long-term health conditions, caring responsibilities or other characteristics that put them at risk of missing out. This could include models that:
    • Provide flexible and supportive opportunities.
    • Build capacity for self-help; peer-support groups.
    • Address barriers (practical, structural, emotional) that prevent people from taking part and staying involved.

All models should be replicable and sustainable; grantees are expected to set up partnerships, processes or systems or ways of working that they can continue to operate beyond the period of the funding, and which other organisations working with volunteers can learn from and apply to their own work.

The funders anticipate that grantees will use the funding to build on their existing work with volunteers and community groups and do not expect organisations to develop a new model from scratch and establish it as an ongoing way of working within 12 months.

Grants can be used for the revenue costs of projects, including:

  • Staff time.
  • Costs of meetings and convening stakeholders and participants (eg venue, travel, catering).
  • Training.
  • Other running costs (eg publicity, costs of facilitation or support, transport/logistics, stationery and consumable supplies, printing etc).

Match Funding Restrictions

Match funding is not a requirement.


The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Organisations based outside the UK, or activities taking place outside England.
  • Individuals or sole traders.
  • Applications made on behalf of another organisation, although the funders welcome applications seeking to build stronger relationships and collaborations between different organisations.
  • Organisations aimed at generating profits primarily for private distribution.
  • Organisations that are mainly fundraising bodies.
  • Schools, colleges or hospitals.
  • Statutory or public bodies.
  • Capital costs such as IT equipment or vehicles.
  • Party political, lobbying or religious activities.
  • Costs of fundraising activities or general marketing of the organisation.
  • Costs of providing statutory duties or services, or other activities separately funded by another public sector body.
  • Interest, lease, hire purchase or other financing payments.
  • Reclaimable VAT charges (where organisations are able to reclaim the VAT charged to them against VAT payments which they are eligible to make to HMRC).
  • Fines, bad debts, compensation payments or similar penalties.

Grants cannot be used to deliver existing work that is fully funded from another source.

Application Procedure

Applicants should complete the online application form on the Centre for Ageing Better's website.

A small number of applicants will then be shortlisted and invited to the second stage of the application process, which will include a workshop in the week of 7 January 2019, followed by the opportunity to revise their applications and due diligence assessments.

Final decisions are expected to be communicated in February 2019.

Contact the Centre for Ageing Better for further information.

Addresses and contacts

Application forms may be available to download their website.
Contact details:
Centre for Ageing Better 
Level 3, Angel Building 
407 St John St 
020 3829 0113