NIACE joins the Age Action Alliance

16th October 2011

NIACE is a founder member of the Age Action Alliance, launched this month, a network of national and local agencies working together to celebrate the lives of older people and to improve the lives of the most marginalised.

The Age Action Alliance is committed to:

  • engaging older people to find out what matters to them and act on it;
  • working with Alliance partners to improve the lives of older people;
  • building on what already works well; and
  • developing realistic and measurable goals and demonstrating the difference it is making.

For many years, NIACE has worked to improve the quality, range and accessibility of learning for older people. For the last five years it has convened the National Older Learners Group, which brings together the national agencies with direct interests in older people’s learning.

NIACE’s paper Choice and Opportunity (published in 2010) also highlights how adult learning can contribute to all the five ‘ways to wellbeing’, identified in the Government’s 2010 Foresight report:

  • Connect with other people.
  • Be active in some form.
  • Take notice of the world and be curious. 
  • Keep learning.
  • Give to others.

Stephen McNair, NIACE Research Associate, said:

“The benefits of learning for older people, their communities and the public purse, are great and we welcome the growth in recent years of self-organised learning activities for older people, through organisations like the University of the Third Age and Learning for the Fourth Age. However, we badly need to stop the continuing decline in publicly funded courses for older people, where course closures and higher fees have led to a drop in the numbers of older people in learning.”

“Critically, we need closer working between agencies, to share resources and ideas, and especially to reach those who think learning is irrelevant, too expensive or too inaccessible. The Alliance is a key way to help this process.”