Research by Royal Voluntary Service, our charity of the year, shows that nearly half of 55-74 year olds in the UK currently volunteer. This equates to 1.4 billion hours per year.

With public sector cuts and the demand for volunteers so high, Royal Voluntary Service believes even more needs to be done to entice older adults to consider volunteering.

They believe that persuading more of this age group to volunteer has duel benefits. Previous research conducted for the charity found that older people who volunteer are happier and healthier than their counterparts who don’t. This is supported by recent reports identifying how remaining active in older age can delay the onset of frailty. Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia found that a retired person’s risk of death is dramatically lowered if they take part in social activities regularly with others once they finish work.

"Older people have so much to offer; their experience, skills and talents would be worth a fortune in the job market, yet many choose to be generous with their time and volunteer. Sadly we are failing to realise and harness this talent as much as we could. We need to do more to motivate older adults to volunteer which will provide the help that is so desperately needed and at the same time, will give them an opportunity to meet new people and to remain active and engaged in their local community.

Volunteering in retirement should be normalised so it becomes a little like work experience for young people; a must have part of their post work plans. It’s vital to engage older people before they leave a company and to achieve this the voluntary sector needs to work with Government and businesses to convince future retirees to include volunteering when planning the next phase of their life." David McCullough, chief executive Royal Voluntary Service

To search for volunteering opportunities in your local area visit the Royal Voluntary Service website: http://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/volunteer.