£120 million to make ageing demographic timebomb an opportunity

25 Mar 2013 09:46 AM

The Big Lottery Fund (BIG) is today announcing two new initiatives in England that will bring improvements to the lives of vulnerable older people by reducing isolation,   helping to deal better with change, and building confidence for the future.

The announcement is part of BIG’s older people investments which in total are pledging at least £160 million (see notes to editors for breakdown) to support initiatives that respond to the needs of vulnerable older people in England and across the UK through to 2015.

Today’s announcement includes up to £50 million which will lead to the creation of an independent Centre for Ageing Better. The Centre, planned to be operational by early next year, will bring together and stimulate the growth of a wide range of evidence to share with older people and professionals involved with their wellbeing. By doing this, the centre will provide the best evidence of what works in community-based solutions to the challenges and opportunities arising from our ageing population.

The investment will be complemented by Research for Impact, a £5 million UK initiative to undertake vital research work focused on better coping strategies for ageing and major life transitions such as retirement, becoming a carer, and dealing with poverty.

The announcement also heralds a £70 million funding package under BIG’s Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better programme, delivered in association with the Daily Mail. Led by voluntary and community sector organisations, 100 identified Local Authority Areas will be targeted to apply for funding of between £2 million and £6 million for activities that will engage older people in key decision making and shaping priorities for local action.

From this, the initiative will make funding available in around 15 to 20 local areas, over a period of up to six years, to pilot area-wide approaches to tackling isolation of older people.

Nat Sloane Big Lottery Fund England Chair said: “Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better is a game changing opportunity that focuses our minds on the opportunities that an ageing society provides for us all. The Big Lottery Fund is turning what is a threat into a positive by placing older people in the driving seat of change. Older people and their needs will be at the heart of services for them, ensuring their voices are heard.

“This is coupled with seeding a legacy, investing in projects and initiatives that will help us all look ahead and plan for future generations to age better.”         

Michelle Mitchell, Age UK's Charity Director General, said: "We are faced with unprecedented demographic change. As a nation we are living longer - the number of people aged over 85 will reach 2.8 million by 2030.  The revolution in longevity is of course something to celebrate but also presents huge opportunities and challenges which policy makers have not yet woken up to and we as a society are ill-prepared to deal with. It is one thing to live longer but another to live well. We need new solutions and approaches which are based on evidence of what works and gives older people a real say. The Big Lottery Fund understands this and that's why I endorse their programme. It has the potential to demonstrate how we can embrace our ageing society positively and make later life a more fulfilling experience today and tomorrow."

Further Information

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours media contact: 07867 500 572
Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website:
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Click on link below to see Ron’s inspirational story. Ron has used his own experience of isolation to help us shape our investment as a member of our co-design group.


Statistics on older people and ageing:

  • There are 10.3 million people aged 65 and over in the UK. This is an 80 per cent increase over six decades, from in 1951. (House of Commons Library, Population ageing: statistics, Tom Rutherford, 10 Feb 2012)
  • 51% more people aged 65 and over in England in 2030 compared to 2010 (Ready for Ageing? House of Lords, March 14, 2013)
  • 101% more people aged 85 and over in England in 2030 compared to 2010 (Ready for Ageing? House of Lords, March 14, 2013)
  • Research demonstrates that loneliness and social isolation have a similar impact on mortality as smoking, and is worse than obesity. It has significant links to a range of chronic conditions, including hypertension, depression, and dementia – increasing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 50%. (http://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org.uk/information-on-loneliness/threat-to-health/)
  • A survey of over 1,000 older people released this month (March 2013) suggest that people aged over-65s spend on average over 6 waking hours alone every day. (http://arcouk.org/2013/03/older-people-in-britain-spend-equivalent-of-over-100-days-alone-each-year/)
  • The survey also found that 24% reported feeling lonely “some or most of the time” and 1 in 5 of respondents aged over 75 could go a whole weekend without seeing or speaking to another person.
  • The survey found poor health was the biggest worry for older people
  • It is estimated that 80% more people aged 65 and over with dementia (moderate or severe cognitive impairment) in England and Wales by 2030 compared to 2010 (Ready for Ageing? House of Lords, March 14, 2013)

 Notes to Editors

  • Since 2004, BIG has funded close to £25.4 million in grants benefitting older people across England.
  • BIG’s pledge to older people investments currently includes Silver Dreams Fund - £10 million; Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better - £70 million; Centre for Ageing Better - £50 million; Research for Impact - £5 million and £25 million to 52,000 veterans through Heroes Return 2.
  • Silver Dreams from the Big Lottery Fund in association with the Daily Mail was launched on 30 Sept 2011. It is the first tranche of a £110 million investment in England for older people. The Silver Dreams Fund will invest at least £10 million through grants between £50,000 and £200,000 to test and develop innovative ideas over 12 to 18 months. Up to five projects will then be chosen to receive up to £1 million each to carry their ideas forward.
  • The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
  • BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in June 2004 BIG has awarded close to £6 bn.
  • The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £29 billion has now been raised and more than 383,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.