About the Centre For Ageing Better
On 11 February 2013 the Big Lottery Fund’s (the Fund) England Committee approved the investment of up to £50M for the Centre for Ageing Better.
The Fund’s intention is that this innovative new Centre will:
- be a world-leading hub with a remit to identify, apply and promote evidence of what makes for a better quality of life in older age;
- aim to empower current and future generations of older people to stay active, healthier and happier for longer;
- actively engage older people in the shaping of its work and work openly and actively with a very wide range of other stakeholders;
- be entirely independent of the Fund and of Government, and will form part of the network of What Works centres.
This initiative presents a unique opportunity to help make a step improvement in the lives of older people.
At December 2013 the Centre existed in name only. However, there has already been considerable progress:
- Lord Filkin has been confirmed as Chair (See the Fund’s press release) and the first seven Trustees have been appointed and are in post (See Board biographies);
- A development grant has been awarded by the Fund to appoint an interim team and establish an interim office, which is being hosted at Nesta. We are working on our development plan submission to the Fund.
- The Chair and Interim Director have undertaken a substantial range of informal meetings and presentations with relevant organisations, exploring the potential role for the Centre and potential opportunities for partnership;
- A consultation paper shared the Board’s early thinking about the future role of the Centre and potential areas for investment and has been circulated to over 150 organisations with interest, expertise and influence in improving later life (See Consultation Paper):
- Valuing older people;
- Preparation and planning for a better later life;
- Sustaining activity and independence in later life;
- Increasing opportunity and extending working lives;
- Local planning and commissioning for better later life;
- Maximising community engagement to improve later life;
- Stimulating sectors, markets, investment and innovation to improve later life;
- Developing an age sensitive culture and environment.
- It is clear that there is substantial support for the Centre and a strong endorsement of our approach to date. However, this process has also been helpful in highlighting issues, which we will need to address as we develop our plans further. We are extremely grateful to colleagues whose input has expanded and enriched the Centre’s thinking and its strategy development.
- We commissioned Age UK to undertake two quick literature reviews on how older people define well being and enablers and barriers to ageing better. We have also undertaken a rapid review of ‘lessons learned’ from other What Works Centres.
- We will be consulting with older people as part of the process of determining our priorities, and will ensure that we take into account their diversity of experience and develop mechanisms to embed their voices in our plans and how the Centre operates;
- We extremely pleased to have appointed our first CEO, Sharmila Nebhrajani OBE, (see press release), who will take up her post on 1st October. Work is also in progress to develop the infrastructure, management and governance systems needed to establish the Centre as an independent charitable trust.
The business case will be the basis of our application to the Fund for approval and release of the endowment. If all goes well, the Centre will launch in 2015.