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An age of opportunity for the voluntary sector

Lynne Berry (Chair, Commission on the Voluntary Sector and Ageing, London, UK)

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

ISSN: 1471-7794

Article publication date: 9 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to put the issue of ageing on the agenda of the English voluntary sector; to support the development of strategies about resourcing, supporting, governing and making relevant the voluntary sector for the next 20 years.


An independent Commission hosted by New Philanthropy Capital and the International Longevity Centre, funded by the Big Lottery and the Prudential Methodology: issuing a discussion paper, created by the Commissioners and based on futures work and an evidence review; holding national and international seminars and conferences.


Our ageing society has the potential to lead the voluntary sector into a viable future by building bridges between generations and communities, by expanding the resources available to it through rethinking its workforce, both paid and unpaid, by inspiring and delivering a more integrated and committed sense of social obligations and mutuality – if it embraces “The Age of Opportunity”.

Research limitations/implications

This is a policy and practice led review with implications for the UK voluntary sector, its role in society and its resourcing.

Practical implications

The Commission on the Voluntary Sector & Ageing takes as its basic premise that if we can grasp the potential, we can invest the skills and resources available to us to create a thriving, relevant and creative place for the voluntary sector and civil society. The Commission is setting a challenge to charities and social enterprises. The authors want them to rethink their work so that they can help make Britain a great place to grow old and one that encourages reciprocity between generations and over a lifetime.

Social implications

A more integrated and mutually empowering society that builds on an asset-based model of ageing.


The work of the Commission has never been done before and has been seen as creating an opportunity for rethinking the role, purpose and potential of the voluntary sector.



Berry, L. (2015), "An age of opportunity for the voluntary sector", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 54-57.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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