Older volunteers 'lose out to focus on youth'

Indira Das-Gupta

The organiser of a conference on age discrimination in the voluntary sector has claimed that the current focus on younger volunteers has led to projects involving older volunteers being underfunded.

The comments came from Sally Price, programme director of Volunteering Initiative for the Third Age. Vita is co-staging the conference, which is being held with Help the Aged in London on 6 June, during Volunteers' Week.

"By putting such a huge focus on young volunteers, the emphasis has been taken away from services delivered by older volunteers," said Price. "As a result, they are having difficulty attracting funding."

Volunteering England, which is running a campaign against ageism, will call on voluntary organisations that attend the conference to sign up to an action plan to stamp out discrimination on the grounds of age.

Vita and Volunteering England said at least two high-profile charities had an upper age limit for volunteers, but refused to name them.

A spokesman for Help the Aged said it was "very disappointing" that the Age Discrimination Act, which comes into force in October, did not extend to volunteers.

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