Thirteen projects have been awarded a share of £2.7 million ($3.5 million) from the UK Second Half Fund to help them tap the time and talents of people aged 50 and over. These innovative projects will work alongside public services to pilot new collaborations between individuals, communities and public service organizations.

The fund, launched by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Nesta in September 2016, provides grants of approximately $325,000 for projects supporting children and young people, parents and families, older adults, and the creation of resourceful and resilient local places.

More than 6,500 volunteers will be recruited into a variety of roles, including tutoring disadvantaged students, befriending elderly people at risk of isolation and promoting reading to help increase well-being.

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said, “These projects will benefit hugely from the wealth of talent and experience that older volunteers bring. By volunteering in later life, people can share their valuable skills, build new friendships and help transform lives within their community.”

Vicki Sellick, Director at Nesta, commented, “We know we have much to gain from the considerable talents of people as they enter the second half of their lives, given freely alongside public services. By supporting the growth of these innovative social action projects, we know they will transform lives and make a significant impact on some of our biggest social challenges.”

The Second Half Fund grantees are:

FareShare, £177,500: FareShare works with volunteers to distribute thousands of tons of food classified as waste by the food and drink industry to charities and community groups. By mobilizing the time and talents of 1,053 people over 50, they aim to grow from supporting 500,000 people per week to supporting 800,000.

Volunteering Matters, £225,000: Matches young people aging out of foster care and other supportive housing with a ‘grandmentor’ – a volunteer aged 50+ — to support good mental and emotional health, positive relationships and independent living skills. They will replicate their model in five new local authorities, supporting 500 more young people during the lifetime of the Fund.

Aesop Arts and Society, £246,919: Aesop’s Dance for Health program uses dance techniques to help with fall prevention. The organization will grow their program from six to 35 locations across the country, with the support of over 583 volunteers aged 50+.

Access Project, £83,500: Volunteers tutor disadvantaged students weekly to boost grades and improve access to top universities. The Access Project will expand their work through mobilizing the time and talents of at least 150 new 50+ volunteers.

BuddyHub, £115,000: A new tech‐enabled befriending service aimed at older adults considered at high risk of loneliness and social isolation. The funding will support growth in North London and mobilize 228 50+ “Friendship Buddies.”

St Joseph’s Hospice Hackney, £233,844: Will replicate its Compassionate Neighbours program, which equips volunteers to support vulnerable neighbors in the last years of life, to eight other hospices across London and the South East, mobilizing 420 people aged 50+.

Eden Project Ltd, £136,811: Will mobilize the time and talents of 150 volunteers aged 50+ to support grandparents and their grandchildren (aged 0-5) to explore and learn together, thereby improving school readiness. Particular focus will be on families where grandparents have a significant caring role or need additional support.

The Reader Organization, £270,000: The Reader pioneers “shared reading” as a way of improving well-being, reducing isolation and building community resilience and connectedness. The Fund will help it make the transition from a staff-led to volunteer-led model by recruiting 474 new 50+ volunteers and establishing 213 new groups across the northwest of England.

Home Start — Greater Manchester, £284,970:  HomeStart will grow its Baby Bond program, which supports parents with mild or moderate mental health issues, from two locations to a total of 11 Manchester locations; 505 new 50+ volunteers will support at least 370 new families.

Spice Time Credits 50+, £247,260: Will grow their Time Credits approach, which offers local rewards for volunteering, to adult social care and recruit isolated, low income 50+ adults with poor health to volunteer. The model will be rolled out in Westminster, Kent and Greater Manchester, working with at least 1,000 new recruits aged 50+.

Family Action, £249,900: Will launch a new virtual and telephone helpline and one-to-one befriending service, staffed by 350 50+ volunteers, aimed at improving emotional and mental well-being of parents and children.

Volunteer It Yourself, £201,000: 14‐24 year olds who are “not in education, employment or training” learn trade and building skills by fixing local youth clubs and other community buildings. Will recruit 500 over-50s as volunteer mentors to help young people gain qualifications and access to employment and further training.

St John Ambulance, £249,993: The First Aid Community Advocates initiative will raise awareness of the importance of first aid in target communities such as carers, those in deprived areas, older and vulnerable groups, recruiting and training 593 50+ volunteers.

More information about the fund and 13 grantees is available here. Each organization’s progress will be documented and findings published in autumn 2018 on the Nesta website.

Nesta is a global innovation foundation that supports new ideas to tackle the big challenges of our time, making use of our knowledge, networks, funding and skills.  It works in partnership with others, including governments, businesses and charities.  It is a UK charity that works all over the world, supported by a financial endowment.

Published July 27, 2017