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The socio‐economic contribution of older people in the UK

Julia Cook (Media and PR Officer at WRVS, Cardiff, UK)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 9 December 2011




The paper aims to highlight the contributions and opportunities offered by an ageing society to their local communities and wider society.


The paper is set out in six sections: an overview of WRVS; challenges of an ageing society; the “grey pound”; provision of social care; volunteering and non‐financial and other contributions of older people. This paper draws on research published by WRVS in March 2011 while providing more detail on the contribution of, and opportunities for, older volunteers with supporting case studies.


The paper shows the benefits of an ageing population, the contributions currently made by the UK's pensioners, and the inevitable increase in their provision to society.

Social implications

In the UK, over 65s are often seen as a burden on society's resources. In many other cultures older people have an elevated status and respect. Older people make a huge contribution to the UK's society but their potential is not always realised. This paper gives evidence of the contribution of older people, the difference they are making in their communities and how the roles they take on can only become more important in their local communities.


This paper refers to research which places an economic value on the contribution of older people to society. Equally important is recognising the value of older people to local communities: organisations and individuals may find this paper a useful insight into older volunteering.



Cook, J. (2011), "The socio‐economic contribution of older people in the UK", Working with Older People, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 141-146.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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