Report backs older volunteers

MATHEW LITTLE

Charities should offer older volunteers more varied opportunities than just making tea if they want to attract and retain them, a new report has asserted.

Older people could be especially valuable in areas such as recreational work with isolated older people, inter-generational work with school children, and helping people with a long-term medical condition, suggests the report evaluating the work of the Home Office Older Volunteers Initiative.

The Home Office Older Volunteers Initiative is a grant programme that has awarded £1.4 million over the last three years with the aim of improving the volume and quality of volunteering openings for people over 50.

If organisations are serious about attracting older volunteers on a long-term basis they need to gain "the informed and explicit support

of the governing body, senior management and those working at operational level, the report says.

Recruiting older volunteers also takes time. Short-term mass recruitment drives don't work because the volunteers will not stay on.

The report was launched at the Older Volunteers Fair in London.

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