Aims & background


The Commission was established to put ageing on the agenda for the voluntary sector and operated from 2013 to 2015.

Focused on England, the Commission was chaired by Lynne Berry OBE, and provided strategic thinking about how the sector can prepare and adapt in the next 20 years. It brought together experts, undertaken research, held events and consulted across the sector and beyond to consider the impact of demographic change on a wide range of issues.

There were three strands to the Commission’s work:

  • Building an understanding of how ageing will affect the sector: through research, analysis and futures thinking.
  • Engaging sector leaders in thinking about the implications of ageing for their organisations: through events, awareness-raising, consultation and dialogue.
  • Enabling the sector to respond and adapt to ageing: through practical recommendations, exploring different approaches and sharing best practice.


The UK is experiencing a huge demographic shift: the number of people aged 85 is expected to more than double by 2035 to 3.5m (read more facts here).

The scale and nature of these changes will present significant challenges and opportunities for all charities, funders, social enterprises and other voluntary organisations—not just for those already working with older people.

Whether an organisation is researching the causes of cancer, working to get young people into employment, or running a local lunch club for older people, it will need to ask:

  • How will an ageing society impact on our beneficiaries and what are the implications for my organisation’s strategy and activities?
  • What will be the impact on our workforce, volunteers and funding of an ageing society?
  • How can we prepare for these changes so that we can keep fulfilling our mission?

The voluntary sector needs the opportunity to think through these big strategic questions. It needs leadership to stimulate debate and long-term thinking, even while the sector faces many pressing short-term issues. It also needs the chance to experiment with differrent solutions and approaches. And NPC and ILC-UK have set up the Commission to fill this need.