Four independent Age Concerns set up trading company

The Age Concerns from Birmingham, Hampshire, Liverpool, and Slough and Berkshire East say their advant~Age business could rival Age UK Enterprises

Age Concern cares for the elderly
Age Concern cares for the elderly

Four Age Concern charities that have decided not to partner with Age UK have set up a trading company to rival Age UK Enterprises.

The new business, called advant~Age, will provide insurance for elderly people and other specialist products designed for an older market, such as stairlifts.

It will start trading in England and Wales on 1 April, when existing agreements between local Age Concerns and Age UK come to a close.

The business was set up by four independent Age Concerns from Birmingham, Hampshire, Liverpool and Slough and Berkshire East.

Shirley Goode, chief executive of Age Concern Birmingham, said the business was not intended to make large profits for the four founding charities.

"We will own the company, but it will pay commissions to all members based on what they sell, and it will be a better commission than was previously available through Age Concern Enterprises," she said. "We anticipate that the profits will be spent either on commissions or on growing the infrastructure of the business, rather than funding our four charities."

About 15 other local Age Concerns from across England and Wales have already signed up as members, and the founder members said they expected more would join by the start date.

Goode said the business would start small, but could eventually grow to rival Age UK Enterprises.

She said Age Concerns that had become partners of Age UK would be welcome to join the trading company. However Age UK's rules are likely to prevent this.

Age UK has said its brand partners must not "sell products that are in competition with the terms of the brand partnership agreement", effectively preventing any of the Age Concerns that have joined advant~Age from partnering Age UK.

Age UK, the national charity formed by the merger of Age Concern England and Help the Aged, has predicted that, out of about 320 independent Age Concerns, 150 charities will sign formal 'brand partnership' agreements and a further 150 smaller organisations will become 'friends of Age UK' – a status designed for small Age Concerns that lack the size to become full brand partners.

Several independent Age Concerns have said they feel these estimates are too high.

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