Ageing Without Children


Our response to the extensive media coverage on the Care Home Crisis

Care Home Crisis – people ageing without children will be left dangerously unsupported if the market collapses.
People ageing without children are 25% more likely to be in residential care than older people with children. Already there are over 1 million people aged over 65 who do not have children and this will double to 2 million by 2030. The numbers of single older people with disabilities who do not have children is projected to increase by an astonishing 80% by 2037. With no family to fall back, people ageing without children are more likely to rely on residential care when they can no longer manage alone at home. If the care home market collapses, it will have a catastrophic effect on people ageing without children.
Kirsty Woodard Director of AWOC said: “People ageing without children are already a quarter more likely to use residential care and, as it becomes harder and harder to get care at home, its likely that percentage will rise. There are simply no back-up plans in place by the Government to manage a failure in the care home market. Government tends to worrk on the basis that if the worse happens, people’s families will be able to step in and that’s just not the case for everyone.”
However, AWOC’s concerns are not just about the possible lack of care home availability, but also about the quality of care people receive in them.
Kirsty Woodard continues: “The level of care being provided in some homes is deeply worrying. Often poor care is uncovered or reported by family members especially adult children. People ageing without children tell us they are terrified about being poorly treated or abused in care homes. There is a huge need for advocacy services to work with care homes to ensure that those without family have a voice, but sadly what advocacy services there are, are severely under funded and under pressure. We are are calling on the Government to ensure its Green Paper on Social Care, to be published later this year, includes proper planning for the many people who will be ageing without children or family and who, consequently, will need more state support. “






We’re delighted to report that we have appointed Greg Wilkinson of Traversum Consultancy to help us to try to secure funding for AWOC . Greg was the interim director at the Centre for Ageing Better and has worked with a wide range of organisations on sustainability and change management. Liz Barker will also be working with us looking specifically at membership and the potential to generate income from training. Liz is an experienced third sector consultant and is also a member of the House of Lords. We’ve also been talking with a range of older people’s organisations to discuss the future and there is real recognition of the importance of the issues we are raising and a real wish for us to continue if at all possible. We will update you when we have any further news about funding and/or the future.

Finally some great news is that Sue Lister who runs the York AWOC group has been made an MBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours List for “Equality, Diversity and the Arts in Yorkshire’. Huge congratulations to Sue for this achievement


May 22nd



Dear AWOC friends and supporters
As you know we have been working hard to see how AWOC and the work it has begun can be sustained.
We’re delighted to tell you that we have been offered some short-term funding in principle to help us with this work. This money will enable us to:
· Explore how we can generate income in the short term;
· Look at longer term funding options for sustainability; and
· Consider how, if it’s not possible for AWOC to be sustainable long-term, the work we’ve begun can be sustained by other organisations.

It is our intention to carry out the work between now and the end of August and firm decisions about the future will be made in early September
We have been really heartened by the support we’ve received from other organisations who want AWOCs work to continue and for all your patience and encouragement while we go through this difficult time
We will update you with more news as things develop.
All good wishes,
AWOC Board





Older updates
Further to our announcement last week that we had sadly been unsuccessful with our Big Lottery bid, we wanted to share more information about the contingency plans we are working on and the possible effect on AWOC.

On 5th May we will meet with the organisations that partnered with us in the bid at the Centre for Ageing Better to see if we can find a way that the work of AWOC can be sustained goring forward. We are looking at a range of options including seeing whether any funding can be found, support in kind, sponsorship and deriving income from training and consultancy. Ideally, we would like AWOC to remain as an independent organisation but that may not be possible.

We therefore feel it is important to let you know that, if a way cannot be found for AWOC to survive as an independent organisation then, sadly and with enormous regret, AWOC will cease trading on 25th May and close. We really hope that it does not come to that and we are working hard to ensure that it doesn’t, but we feel we ought to let you know that it is a possibility.

Below are answers to questions that people have asked us which we hope will explain things in more detail:

  1. Why would AWOC have to close?

Since it was set up in 2014, AWOC has run on very little money and Kirsty has worked full time largely for free. It’s no longer possible for her to continue to do this which leaves AWOC with no one to run it on a day-to-day basis as well as having no income.

  1. Are there no other funders AWOC can go too?

There are other grant funders we could approach, but to apply for and go through a grants process takes 4-6 months and, without any income for the organisation, we do not have the time to do that. Also, the amounts of money available compared to Big Lottery are quite small and wouldn’t solve the funding gap unless we had 3 or 4 together.

  1. What about crowdfunding?

We have considered this, but previous AWOC crowdfunding attempts have not been that successful. To set up and run a successful crowdfunding campaign takes time and without anyone to run the organisation, the time and resources are not there.

  1. What about membership?

We tried membership previously but not enough people signed up to make it viable.

  1. What will happen to the local groups if AWOC closes?

We hope that people will continue to run their own groups if they want too and part of the conversations we will be having are about whether it’s possible for any other organisation to offer support in this area.

  1. What will happen to the facebook group if AWOC closes?

It’s possible that it could continue if the organisation closes, but it would need to become self administering.

We will update you again after the meeting on 5th May

with all good wishes and thanks for your kind messages of support

AWOC Board

Update: This is what we had wanted to do

  • Establish a secure online community where people ageing without children can share experiences, ideas and get support from each other themed around key practical help areas – led by people ageing without children themselves – so there can be self generated  and self sustaining information/advice and support.
  • Provide a range of information resources to help individuals ageing without children set up local AWOC Networks
  • Explore ways in which individuals ageing without children can come together offline
  • Establish a partnership with a local information & advice provider to
    • Research the understanding/knowledge of the issues affecting people ageing without children amongst information & advice staff and volunteers
    • Pilot training for information & advice staff and volunteers in the organisation about the issues affecting people ageing without children
    • Identify where there are gaps in information & advice materials for people ageing without children and develop bespoke materials if needed
  • Target work in 3 pilot areas to raise awareness of ageing without children
  • Provide workshops for organisations in the 3 pilot areas to help them better understand the issues around ageing without children and what they can do to ameliorate them
  • Pilot an AWOC ambassador programme  to raise awareness of the issues affecting people ageing without children in their local area and how organisations and communities can ensure they are included in plans and discussions.
  • Develop a series of briefings for organisations on particular aspects of ageing without children e.g. men ageing without children, terminology, people estranged from their children.
  • Form an advisory group for the project to contribute expertise, review progress towards outcomes and to help share the learning

To donate, click here

Watch AWOC Founders Kirsty, Jody and Robin talking on the BBC

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AWOC Big Lottery bid unsuccessful

It is with great sadness that we have to tell you that AWOC will not be receiving a grant from the Big Lottery Fund. Our bid focused on a hitherto overlooked segment of the population and received recognition for putting people ageing without children in the lead, for its equality approach and partnership model. However, it was felt that the bid would not be able to achieve the level of transformation required by the new criteria of BLF’s Accelerating Ideas programme and therefore would not be funded.

The Board of AWOC are working on a contingency plan to see how the work AWOC has begun can be continued. We are extremely saddened at this turn of events. It is not at all what we hoped for and we know that you will feel the same. We will, of course, keep you updated with our plans and thank you for all your support.

With all good wishes,

The AWOC Board

To donate, click here

Watch AWOC Founders Kirsty, Jody and Robin talking on the BBC

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