£2m National Lottery funding for older workers

  • The funding will help older people to remain in or return to work
  • The grant is for the five-year Age at Work project which is raising awareness of an ageing workforce and supporting businesses to be more age inclusive.
  • 47% of workers are likely to work past the state pension age to be able to afford their desired lifestyle
The National Lottery Community Fund is investing more than £2 million of National Lottery funding on a project to support older people to remain in or return to work in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Age NI, in partnership with Business in the Community Northern Ireland, have been awarded the £2,244,942 grant for the five-year Age at Work project which is raising awareness of an ageing workforce and supporting businesses to be more age inclusive.
By supporting older people to remain in or return to work, the project is helping them to have enough income, stay connected, develop new skills, lead a fuller working life and reduce loneliness and isolation.
Age NI and Business in the Community Northern Ireland’s counterparts in Scotland and Wales are also delivering the project in their countries. 
The project is encouraging businesses to recruit, retain and retrain older workers. It is offering resources, advice and support including training and work placements. The project is also working with employers to support age inclusive policies.
Recent research also indicates that 82% of people aged in their 40s and 50s who are in work would like to have more flexibility in their job pattern in the future, 81% are interested in developing new skills and 47% are interested in being promoted. (Source: Mid-Career Review survey, Age NI, Business in the Community NI and Department for Communities, due to be published in 2019)
Anne Wilmott, age campaign director, Business in the Community, said:

“Age must not be a barrier to opportunity.  Age at Work is a huge catalyst for change. At Business in the Community we’re really excited by this new chance to help transform the lives of thousands of people and inspiring companies to release the benefits of an ageing multigenerational workforce.  BITC is delighted to be working in partnership with Age NI, Scotland and very grateful to the support of the National Lottery Community Fund”.
Siobhan Casey, director of business development and marketing at Age NI, said:
“We are all living for longer, which means that for many of us, we will also be working for a greater length of time. This presents both challenges and opportunities for older workers and employers.
“Our research has told us that older people want to continue in employment for a number of reasons. These might include wanting to stay connected with others (30%), or for some it might be for financial reasons – 47% are likely to work past the state pension age to be able to afford their desired lifestyle. However, as caring responsibilities, health issues and other interests emerge, the need for employers to adapt to these scenarios by offering more flexible options is critical to retaining and valuing the expertise and contribution of older workers.
“As part of the Age at Work project, over the next five years, Age NI will support over one thousand people seeking a refresh of their current role, skills and prospects by providing a tailored Mid-Career Review. The aim of this initiative is to increase the confidence, skills and opportunities for those who wish to, as well as those who need to, stay in work for longer.”
Michele Doran (50), who works as part of First Trust Bank’s Digital Channels team, said:

“I really enjoy working and have had opportunities to develop my skills throughout my career, by working in a range of roles, both in the branch and on recent digital projects.
“One of the things I enjoy most about working is the opportunity to build connections and engage with people. I’m also lucky that my employer has been very supportive of my changing lifestyle and needs, including most recently, enabling me to work closer to home, after some health problems.
“I really commend Age NI and Business in the Community on the launch of this exciting project. I think the support being offered to older workers to help them stay connected and have a fuller working life is really valuable.”
Kate Beggs, The National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland Director, said:
“We’re delighted to be funding the Age at Work project, which focuses on the strengths older people bring to the workforce.
“Thanks to National Lottery players, it will work with older people and employers to help better understand and overcome some of the barriers to finding or staying in work. These include the demands of informal caring, health issues and lack of flexible working options.”
Notes to editor
Media contact
Cathy Beveridge, Media and external affairs manager, Business in the Community, 07776 181 945 Email: cathy.beveridge@bitc.org.uk
About the National Lottery Community Fund
The National Lottery Community Fund are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.
We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.
About Business in the Community
Business in the Community, part of the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, is a business-led membership organisation made up of progressive businesses of all sizes who understand that the prosperity of business and society are mutually dependent. We exist to build healthy communities with successful businesses at their heart.
We use our Responsible Business Map to guide members on a journey of continuous improvement, working across the whole responsible business agenda. From community engagement to employment, diversity and the circular economy, we offer expert advice and specialist resources, driving best practice by convening, sharing learning and recognising great performance across our influential network. www.bitc.org.uk