Ageing Better

Ageing Better

Ageing Better

Ageing Better is a six-year, £78 million investment to improve the lives of people aged over 50 by addressing social isolation and loneliness within local communities.

Aims & approach

Ageing Better aims to support people aged over 50 who are experiencing or at risk of social isolation and loneliness, so that they can lead more fulfilling lives, better connected to their communities.

14 local partnerships will work to ensure that people aged 50 and over are:

  • less isolated and lonely
  • actively involved in their communities, with their views and participation valued more highly
  • more engaged in the design and delivery of services that improve their social connections
  • recognised for their positive contribution to society.

Ageing Better also supports:

  • services that improve social connections to be better planned, co-ordinated and delivered
  • the development of better evidence about how to reduce isolation and loneliness for people aged over 50, in order to improve the design of services in the future.


Our fifth thematic learning report is on the topic of micro-funding.

We have found that micro-funding was a powerful approach that enabled our partnerships to reach underserved communities and put people aged 50+ in the lead to develop the projects and assets most important to them.

To find out more please read our summary report which gives an overview of the approach and it benefits here: Micro-funding: Empowering Communities to Create Grassroots Change

This is complemented by our detailed evaluation report, which supports the findings and our technical report, which explains the research methodology.

In the meantime please take a look at what our partnerships, volunteers and participants in Greater Manchester and Bristol have to say about the value of embedding micro-funding in their programmes:


Many of our Ageing Better partnerships have been working on Community Connector and Social Prescribing type schemes, which were reviewed in our report from November 2018: Learning report 2 – Community Connector schemes. The following video explores experiences of people aged over 50 involved in these schemes and the positive effects on their lives at two of our partnerships: Brightlife Cheshire and Ageless Thanet.

People in the Lead

Each of the 14 local partnerships use the strengths and assets of people aged over 50 and the wider community to find what works best in their area. People aged over 50 are driving decision-making and governance, and play a key role in co-designing and delivering project activities.

As a result, services will be better planned, more coordinated and delivered in a way that works for the local community.

The Centre for Ageing Better

We have awarded a ten-year, £50 million endowment to The Centre for Ageing Better. Their aim is to support a good quality of life in older age and promote the benefits of an ageing society by bridging the gap between research, evidence and practice. The Centre is part of the What Works Network in England.


Ageing Better will gather evidence of what works to support people aged over 50 who are at risk of experiencing social isolation and loneliness, and use it to improve the design of future services across the UK.


We have appointed a partnership of evaluators to produce a series of thematic learning reports from across the 14 partnerships. Led by Ecorys UK, the partnership includes Bryson Purdon Social Research LLP and Professor Christina Victor, from the Brunel Institute for Ageing Studies at Brunel University.


Thematic briefings

Our fifth thematic briefing, on micro-funding approaches is available here: Micro-funding: Empowering Communities to Create Grassroots Change.

Read the full report, which goes into greater detail about the micro-funding approaches taken by Ageing Better partnerships, some of the challenges and benefits of this approach. This is supplemented by a technical annex which explains the research approach.


Our first evaluation report of 2020 explores how our partnerships have engaged people over 50 in their programmes, particularly looking at the challenges of engaging the most marginalised groups (Black and Minority Ethnic, Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender+, carers, those living alone, those with a disability and men), with some practical ideas about how to engage with them.

There is also an accompanying technical report which sets out the data collection methodology and research ethics.

Thematic briefings

Our fourth learning report on micro-funding approaches will launch here in February 2020.

Evidence Library

Our Ageing Better evaluation and learning has fed into the Fund’s Evidence Library which also collates insights from across all our programmes, and is a great resource if you want to learn more about what our grants have achieved and to plan future projects.

2018 - 19


Our programme briefing (PDF, 1.1MB) summarises what we have learnt about people aged over 50, social isolation and loneliness to date. It looks at the challenges that we and our partnerships have faced and what we are doing to address them in the second half of the programme.

We published a national evaluation report (PDF, 3.2MB) in July 2018 which shares some early lessons from the 14 partnerships, including statistics on reach and engagement.

Thematic briefings:

  • Ageing Better in Birmingham

    Ageing Better in Birmingham

    Ageing Better in Birmingham supports citizens and communities to work together with the voluntary sector to address loneliness and isolation and its underlying causes. As well as working across the city, they focus on supporting carers and the LGBT community. Visit website
  • Bristol Ageing Better

    Bristol Ageing Better

    Bristol Ageing Better (BAB) is working to make Bristol a brilliant place to grow old. By influencing city decision makers, wellbeing services and intergenerational activities, BAB is working together to make the city more age friendly. Visit website
  • Brightlife Cheshire

    Brightlife Cheshire

    Working in Cheshire West and Chester, Brightlife inspires and enable individuals and communities to understand and act to reduce social isolation whilst capturing unique insights. Key activities include social prescribing, engagement and volunteering, positive communications and marketing. Visit website
  • Ageing Better in Camden

    Ageing Better in Camden

    Ageing Better in Camden is a partnership of older people and Camden organizations, drawing on existing skills and resources to create meaningful connections and stronger communities. Visit website
  • Connect Hackney

    Connect Hackney

    Connect Hackney is working with the diverse communities of Hackney to help over 50s stay connected and active. Their work includes a Media Group, and Community Connectors service offering one-to-one sessions to help build confidence, motivation and access to social activities. Visit website
  • Manchester: Ambition for Ageing

    Manchester: Ambition for Ageing

    Ambition for Ageing is supporting the development of 25 age friendly neighbourhoods across eight local authority districts in Greater Manchester. From this work, they have developed a series of larger programmes that test approaches to building connection and reducing isolation at scale. Visit website
  • Isle of Wight: Age Friendly Island

    Isle of Wight: Age Friendly Island

    Led by Age UK IW and working with WHO’s Age Friendly Cities, Age Friendly Island is made up of organisations committed to building a community that values, respects, engages and actively supports older people, with the voice of older residents at the heart. Visit website
  • Time to Shine Leeds

    Time to Shine Leeds

    Established by Leeds Older People's Forum, Time to Shine fund a wide range of projects, with a specific focus on the most marginalised such as BAME, men, LGBT and older people with a disability, aiming to make Leeds a great place to grow old. Visit website
  • Leicester Ageing Together

    Leicester Ageing Together

    A community and voluntary sector partnership with older people at its heart, Leicester Ageing Together is bringing people together and building flourishing communities in some of the most diverse and deprived areas of Leicester. Visit website
  • Ageing Better Middlesbrough

    Ageing Better Middlesbrough

    Ageing Better Middlesbrough works alongside older people to create welcoming community groups, provide accessible information on activities and opportunities and offer personalised support to those who are the most lonely and isolated. Visit website
  • Age Better Sheffield

    Age Better Sheffield

    Age Better in Sheffield is helping to make Sheffield a city that everyone can all be proud to grow older in. Their mission is to support individuals to develop positive and meaningful connections with others. Visit website
  • Talk, Eat, Drink in East Lindsey

    Talk, Eat, Drink in East Lindsey

    Talk, Eat, Drink (T.E.D.) in East Lindsey works to identify the good provision that is happening through existing groups and facilities and helps to develop and promote them through the involvement of older people and local organisations. Visit website
  • Ageless Thanet

    Ageless Thanet

    Ageless Thanet use older people’s experiences to deliver activities, a community hub for older people in Margate and access to support during moments of crisis in later life. Their Age Friendly Business programme challenges how older people are seen within our community. Visit website
  • Ageing Well Torbay

    Ageing Well Torbay

    Ageing Well Torbay is developing a social ecosystem to reduce social isolation and loneliness. It comprises of asset based community development in neighbourhoods, strengthening relationships and connectivity through social prescribing, mental wellbeing peer support, financial resilience and digital inclusion. The programme is increasingly led, designed and co-produced by people over 50. Visit website


Ageing Better is collecting the learning happening locally from within the 14 partnerships.

Read a summary of our national learning

Covid 19 – Learning from Ageing Better

Covid-19 is an unprecedented situation affecting the lives of people across the globe, which is particularly impacting on older and more vulnerable people. We have learned a lot about the impact of and ways of reducing social isolation and loneliness in people aged over 50 during the five years of the Ageing Better Programme to date. There is much about the crisis that feels out of control but as more people are asked or decide to retreat behind physical doors, this short paper aims to share some insights and learning from Ageing Better.

Read the briefing

Working and engaging with BAME communities

Written in Feb 2020 this report focuses on our learning from Ageing Better in relation to working and engaging with Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

Read the report

Intergenerational Working

Written in Jan 2020 this report focuses on our learning from Ageing Better on working in an intergenerational way with a focus on interventions which have involved or been delivered through a mixture of age groups

Read the report

Working and engaging with carers

Written in Jan 2020 this report focuses on our learning from Ageing Better in relation to working and engaging with carers.

Read the report

Working and engaging with older men

Written in Nov 2019 this report focuses on our learning from Ageing Better on working and engaging with older men and brings together and summarises the learning produced by a number of our partnerships.

Read the report

Positive Mental Health

Written in Dec 2019 this report explores the role played by Positive Mental Health in relation to social isolation and loneliness in people aged 50+. It goes on to highlight the importance of and the impact that someone feeling part of a network and community plays in reducing social isolation and loneliness

Read the report

Reducing social isolation in LGBT+ communities aged over 50

This paper written in July 2019 focuses on our learning on reducing social isolation in the LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. It brings together information from a learning session we held with Ageing Better practitioners, evidence received following a call out to Ageing Better projects delivering to this client group and results from a qualitative questionnaire sent to all Ageing Better areas.

Programme Development – reflections

This report written in Feb 20 aims to identify key messages around the organisation and set up of the Ageing Better Programme reflecting on how Ageing Better has developed and evolved over the duration (to date) of its delivery.

Read the report

Economy and personal resources

This paper written in July 2019 focuses on our learning from within Ageing Better on the role of the economy and people’s personal resources in relation to social isolation and loneliness in people aged 50+. It is based on the insights of Ageing Better areas brought together for a specific workshop around this topic.

Role of food in building connections and relationships

This learning paper (March 19) focuses on the role food plays in building connections and relationships.

Read the report

Key messages summary

Social Prescribing Health Referrals – Learning report

In January 2019 we brought together Ageing Better projects to share learning and insight from across the programme about Social Prescribing where a health referral was involved.

Read the report

Learning from Community Connector projects

In March 2018, 8 Ageing Better programmes came together to share learning from their Community Connector projects. We defined a Community Connector as any mechanism that identifies isolated people over 50 and works with them to help them transition to less isolated through person-centred structured support.

Read the report

Learning around Community Connectors – Time Limited interventions

In August 2018 a group of Ageing Better programmes came together to share their learning around Community Connectors – Time Limited Interventions.

Read the report

Read the summary document of key messages