The UK is undergoing a demographic shift, with potentially far-reaching consequences for society, the economy and public service provision. A vastly improved life expectancy, one of the great triumphs of the last century, looks set to be one of great challenges of this one.
By 2020, 12.5 million people will be over the age of 65, with people over 50 making up 47% of the total adult population. Existing health and social care systems are already struggling to cope. We are starting to understand how this challenge will affect our ageing population.
We want to make the UK to be the best place to grow old in. Over one million people in later life say they always or often feel lonely. More than 60% of people in later life in the UK agree that age discrimination exists in their daily lives and 76% feel that the country fails to make good use of their skills and talents.
This requires us all to radically reimagine how we can continue to ensure the health, social and economic wellbeing of older people.
Fitness lecturer Ben Allen saw first-hand the poor quality of life of care home residents in his home town of Scarborough and realised the urgent need for a better way to deliver adult social care. He founded Oomph! to deliver fun and regular exercise to care home residents which inspire mobility, social interaction and mental stimulation.
Today, over half a million people take part in Oomph! sessions each year in over 1,200 care homes.
Over the last seven years UnLtd has provided financial and non-financial support to over 200 social entrepreneurs like Ben, dedicated to creating bold solutions for an ageing society led by the needs of older people.
Funded by the Coutts Foundation, we supported 21 social entrepreneurs who help people in later life
Thanks to their innovative solutions these 21 social ventures collectively benefited 6,500 people
We helped ambitious social ventures working in healthcare to raise £1.5 million
There is urgent pressure to find innovative, cost effective solutions for delivering products and services for people in later life.
Public authorities, social care providers and individuals in society can benefit hugely from the radical innovations of social entrepreneurs, and from their ability to engage service recipients in co-creating and co-delivering the solutions.
Some providers of public services have begun to look to social entrepreneurs as partners, but many don’t yet know how to utilise this untapped resource. These social ventures may appear too risky, or too small to offer delivery at scale.
In turn, social entrepreneurs need structures in place that enable positive risk taking. For example, by making commissioning and procurement systems less complex, and through building strong partnerships with the social economy.
Only if we bridge these different worlds in practical, cost efficient ways will social entrepreneurs begin to deliver health and social care impact at scale.
Over the next five years we will be focusing on finding solutions by:
"If people have ideas which could improve the experiences of people in later life, my advice would be to get out and try it. There is a huge and growing need within this demographic and you never know where it might lead."
Ben Atkinson-Willes - Active Minds
"We decided there was something we could do. These are people with thoughts, feelings and opinions. They should be listened to and cared for as you’d expect anyone else to be. That’s what we do."
Kate Smith - Memory Matters