Ageing Without Children


Welcome to AWOC’s summer update. We have lots of exciting things to tell you.

The first thing is that earlier this year we appointed a new Board for AWOC. Information about the new Board members can be found here:

Kirsty will still run the organisation on a day to day basis.

The new Board met together in June for an Away Day to work out how best AWOC can continue to campaign for people ageing without children and offer information and support. Out of that day came 3 priorities.

AWOC priorities for 2018

Secure funding

AWOC’s funding remains precarious; although we’ve had some success in securing small grants to do particular pieces of work in different areas, in order to sustain the organisation and fund our core work, we estimate that we need approximately £95,000 per annum. Our focus between now and the end of the year will be on submitting funding applications to a range of grant-making bodies in order to secure the income we need. Funding will be used to establish an office base, carry our further policy and campaigning work, provide training to organisations, and support to organisations and people wanting to set up local AWOC groups

Raise awareness

We are making progress with raising awareness and the understanding of the issues affecting people ageing without children, but there is an awful lot more to do. Only by ensuring that local and national government, organisations in the third sector and more widely, as well as society generally, fully understand the different reasons why there are many more people ageing without children and the issues that affect them, can we start to really focus on solutions.

We want to focus more time and effort in ensuring there is as much understanding and awareness of people ageing without children as there is, for example, of dementia, loneliness and issues facing carers

Redevelop the AWOC website

We were very lucky to be given an anonymous donation to redevelop the AWOC website to make it much more user friendly and interactive. More news on that soon.

Developing new resources for organisations

Our work with PRAMA has been incredibly useful and has led to us working on some new resources which we aim to publish in October. The first is a guide for organisations on how to be “AWOC aware”: making sure they think about people ageing without children in how they plan and deliver services. The guide is backed up by training delivered by AWOC which helps organisations work through the guide and the recommended steps.

Secondly, we are developing a resource pack for organisations who want to set up groups for people ageing without children. The resource pack will include ideas for topics for discussion, with contacts, examples of publicity from existing AWOC groups, how to publicise the group and template media releases.

We aim to launch both of these in October.

Transform ageing programme

AWOC was successful in obtaining funding to develop work specifically in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. We will be starting in Somerset in September by setting up an AWOC group in Frome. We presented at a meeting in Devon in June and there was a great deal of interest in the topic from Devon County Council. We’re hoping that we will be able to run a workshop in Devon this Autumn to see how organisations can come together to tackle the issues around ageing without children.

News from across the age sector

Independent Age Campaign on ageism; Ageism Plus

After last year’s “doing care differently” campaign which we contributed too, this year Independent Age are looking at ageism and the many different aspects of it. We have been asked to contribute a blog as part of the series.

Consultations and publications

The Social Market Foundation published a report commissioned by Age UK in July on the effects of being a carer. The report also highlighted the growing numbers of people ageing without children. We sent a response to the report to Age UK and as a result they have asked us to write blog that they can publish on their social media. The report can be found here:

The Centre for Ageing Better has published its new strategy which can be found here: Its four priorities are:

  • Fulfilling work
  • Safe and accessible homes
  • Healthy ageing
  • Connected communities

Independent Age: Good grief: older people’s experiences of partner bereavement

We were asked to contribute to this piece of research to highlight the specific issues facing people ageing without children.

Local Government Association has published a consultation paper on social care

The local government association have launched their own consultation on social care whilst waiting for the government’s delayed green paper.

Request for help with Age UK report

Age UK are currently putting together a case-study led report that aims to highlight how the loss of community health services is leaving older people without a ‘safety net’ when they need it. They are looking for examples of older people whose situation is precarious – they may be coping at the moment, but be dependent on an increasingly frail partner, be socially isolated or off the radar of care or support services. Alternatively, they may have been coping but experienced a crisis, such as a fall, and are now in a very bad situation because there is/was no support available to help them.

Ideally, the examples will be of where community health services could have made a difference – such as district nurses, continence teams, mental health or diabetes nurses, occupational therapist or falls services etc.

If you think you can help then please do get in touch via the main AWOC email

















Ageing without children – the issue

Public policy and social attitudes towards ageing are based on a set of deeply rooted assumptions about older people’s ability to access care, support, advice and companionship from their adult children. Yet a significant minority of older people – already 1 million of those over 65, rising to 2 million by 2030 – are experiencing later life without these relationships.  This trend has the potential to impact substantially on our ageing society – both in terms of the quality of later life enjoyed by such older people, and in terms of the fiscal and social implications of supporting and caring for them. But the trends and issues are not yet well understood; and, as a  consequence, older people without children are not well served by networks and services – and, indeed, third sector organisations – that address their circumstances.

Ageing Without Children (AWOC) – the organisation

Ageing Without Children (AWOC) exists to plug these gaps. Its vision is “Ageing well together without children” and its mission is “campaigning, information and support for people ageing without children”.

Its aims are threefold:

  • Illuminate – to generate greater awareness and understanding of this segment of the older population and of the implications of ageing without children for public services and society more broadly.
  • Connect – to build networks, connecting and enabling locality-based and online communities of older people without children.
  • Innovate – through working in partnership and stimulating action by other entities, to facilitate the development and testing of new services and initiatives that meet the needs of older people without children – and, more broadly, of our ageing society.

AWOC’s intention is for these aims to be mutually reinforcing, thereby creating a virtuous circle:

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Dear Friends and Supporters,

It is with great sadness, that we have to tell you that we have failed to secure any funding to take AWOC as an organisation forward. We’ve spent over a year exploring many different promising avenues, and have invested thousands of hours of our time in doing so, but unfortunately we’ve come away with empty pockets!

Currently, the issue of ageing without children is mostly ignored by mainstream ageing thinking and practice. However, this is not an attitude that those us who are dealing with this issue personally have the luxury of taking.  Each of knows that we have to pay attention and take action, both individually and at a collective level.  This is human rights issue that the Western world is being stubborn in waking up to. It will; we will make sure of that.

AWOC has lots of creative and practical ideas about how we can proceed despite not receiving conventional funding, because there’s no way that the ONLY organisation in the world looking into and campaigning on behalf of adults ageing without children is going to give up!

Although we have lots of plans about how we can sustain ourselves as an organisation long term, these are going to take a couple of years to really get going so, for now, we need to introduce one of them straight away, and that’s a very basic form of membership payment.  In order to make it affordable for most people, we’re asking for a minimum payment of £5 per month.

Your membership fees and other donations will enable us over the next 12 months and longer term to:

  • Develop workshops and training that we can charge for;
  • Work with our members to flesh out the membership model;
  • Continue to build fruitful partnerships with other organisations; and
  • Co-create commercial initiatives with private sector organisations.

Our costs as an organisation are extremely modest, only £5,000 per month, as almost everything the Board and others currently do for AWOC is done on an unpaid voluntary basis. However, without that minimum amount in the bank each month, it’s going to be very difficult indeed for AWOC to grow to match the pace that the issue and you, our members, expect. In fact, we’ll struggle to limp along and will have to cut back on many of things we already do.

Five ways can you help right now

  1. Set up a standing order for at least £5 per month or £60 per year: Ageing Without Children – 23063062 – 20-21-80
  2. Set up a reoccurring monthly PayPal payment of at least £5 per month or £60 per year DONATE HERE
  3. Make a one off donation via AWOC’s ‘Go Fund Me’ page ly/awoc-gofundme
  4. Make a one off donation either via PayPal or bank transfer
  5. Make a one off donation by cheque to ‘Ageing Without Children’ and post to Ageing without Children, NDTi, 1st Floor, 30-32 Westgate Buildings, Bath BA1 1EF

We estimate that if each of our supporters on Facebook, Twitter and out there in the community  donated £5 per month we’d be able to get back to the business of growing AWOC at both a local and national level and be the voice that speaks up for and supports those 25% of adults ageing without children.

I know that funds are tight for many of us (us too!), but can you really afford NOT to support AWOC?!

Thank you in advance for making sure that our voice remains heard.

Best wishes,

Kirsty Woodard (Founder) and the Board of AWOC