The ageing of our population is one of the biggest social change issues facing us today. It offers great opportunities both to individuals and to society to capitalise on what older people have to offer, but if not managed well, could present huge challenges for public services and society generally. There are currently 10.3 million people aged 65 and over in the UK. This is an 80 per cent increase over six decades since 1951, and in the next two decades, the number is set to rise by another 50 per cent. Within that, the number of people aged over 85 is set to double. Our ambition is to turn this challenge into an opportunity for both individuals and society and help promote the benefits of an ageing society. This is underpinned by a guiding philosophy that older people are an asset and that with the right support and conditions can be a source of future growth and development.
The Centre for Ageing Better is a recently formed company which will operate as a charity, supported by a major £50 million endowment from the Big Lottery Fund. 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. Its aim will be to empower older people and those who will become old to stay active, healthier and happier for longer. The Centre will actively engage older people in the shaping of its work and to work openly and actively with a very wide range of other stakeholders. The Centre will be entirely independent of the Fund and of Government, and will form part of the network of What Works centres.
The Centre presents a unique opportunity to help make a step improvement in the lives of older people. With my appointment as Chair confirmed and the first four Trustee appointments imminent, we are now seeking up to six more Trustees to join us. We want a range of perspectives, skills, and backgrounds, and want to ensure diversity in all senses. In making the remaining appointments, we continue to welcome interest from people with the passion and aptitude for the job, whatever their previous career history and background.
These appointments require a strong interest in the issues facing an ageing society, along with the ability to contribute to excellent governance. While you will recognise the vital role that evidence can play in driving policy and practice, you will understand and be personally committed to connecting this to the experiences of older people, ensuring their engagement and involvement in the Centre’s development and addressing how we retail relevant evidence and help people and service commissioners and deliverers to utilise it for beneficial change. You will be a natural team-player with outstanding communication and interpersonal skills as well as unimpeachable integrity. Crucially, you will be inspired to add value right from the start.
We are privileged to have such substantial resources at our disposal and are determined to spend every pound as well as possible, both for beneficiaries directly, and to shift the dial on policy and practice. If you share our vision for a world-class Centre, and believe that you have the experience and qualities to shape it, I look forward to hearing from you.
Lord Geoffrey Filkin
Chair, Centre for Ageing Better