Headlines: February 1st, 2002

A ‘not for profit’ company has been formed to stimulate volunteering The Experience Corps, funded by a 20 million pounds grant from the Home Office will encourage people aged 50 plus to offer their skills and experience to benefit others in their local communities. The Experience Corps hopes to enlist people who have never been interested in volunteering before.The new company is seeking to recruit older volunteers because research shows volunteering reaches a peak by age 49 and then declines. Some 44 per cent of people aged 40-49 have some kind of civic involvement – signing petitions, contacting the council, attending public meetings. This declines to 34 per cent of those aged 65+. Some 73 per cent of people 49 and under are involved in informal volunteering – giving unpaid help to a non-relative. This declines to 55 per cent of those aged 65+.

The research also revealed that, although fewer older people are involved, if they do volunteer they do it more regularly – with the oldest group, 65 +, volunteering the most regularly, at least once a month.

The Experience Corps will rely on their 100 Animators, working through nine regional centres in England, whose primary task will be to match potential Experience Corps members with opportunities from local charities and organisations.

The original idea for an Experience Corps came out of the Performance and Innovation Unit’s report ‘Winning the generation game’. The Government then established an advisory group of experts to advise on exactly what the initiative should look like.

Anyone interested in joining the Experience Corps can ring the information line on 080010 60 80 or log on to the website http://www.experiencecorps.co.uk   for further information.