Age UK

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Age UK
Founded1 April 2009
HeadquartersLondon, WC1
United Kingdom
An Age UK shop in Northgate Street, Gloucester.

Age UK is a registered charity in the United Kingdom,[1] formed on 25 February 2009, and launched on 1 April 2009, which combined the operations of the previously separate charities Age Concern England and Help the Aged to form the UK's largest charity for older people.[2]

Despite the national merger, many local Age Concern charities decided not to become brand partners of Age UK and continued as independent and completely separate Age Concerns and remain so to this day.

The charity operated as "Age Concern England and Help the Aged" until the new brand launch on 19 April 2010.[3] The brand also includes separate but interdependent charities for the UK regions: Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI,[4][5] as well as its commercial services arm, Age UK Enterprises and new international charity, Age International.

The merger was the largest among charities in the UK since that of the Cancer Research Campaign and Imperial Cancer Research in 2002 to form Cancer Research UK.[6]


Age UK was formed from the merger of Help the Aged and Age Concern England, creating an organisation with a combined income of around £160 million, including £47 million a year raised through fundraising, and over 520 charity shops, and income raised through its commercial services arm, Age UK Enterprises.

The merger was first confirmed in September, when Dianne Jeffrey was confirmed as the new chair of trustees.[7]

Tom Wright CBE, previously chief executive of VisitBritain, and Trustee of the Imperial War Museum was appointed Chief Executive of the new charity in November 2008.[8] Tom Wright resigned in June 2017 to become the new Chief Executive[9] of Guide Dogs.

The new CEO is Steph Harland.[10]

Age UK also has a new Chair of Trustees, Sir Brian Pomeroy.[11]


Age Concern[edit]

Age Concern's origins are British and can be traced back to a realisation in that country of the effects on aged people of the Second World War; the dislocation and breakdown of family life arising out of conscription led to a recognition that existing poor laws failed to provide effective support for old people separated from family support networks. In 1940, the Old People’s Welfare Committee (OPWC), chaired by Eleanor Rathbone, was formed as a forum for discussion between government and voluntary organisations. OPWC was a sub-committee of Liverpool Personal Service Society (PSS). In 1944, the committee changed its name to the National Old People’s Welfare Committee (NOPWC), and took on responsibility for coordinating the activities of numerous local OPWCs.

From the 1950s onwards, NOPWC accessed government and local funds associated with the post-war development of the welfare state, to provide services to local committees, and training to wardens of old people's homes.

In 1971, under the direction of David Hobman, the NOPWC changed its public name to Age Concern, and separated itself entirely from government and the National Council for Social Service, (now NCVO). It did so while also launching a 'manifesto for old age' and establishing itself nationally as a lobbying body as well as an organisation that engaged in service provision and enhancement, training and research.

The directors of Age Concern England have included David Hobman, Sally Greengross, and Gordon Lishman.

In 1986 Age Concern established an Institute of Gerontology at King's College London into which it folded its own Age Concern Research Unit.

Help the Aged[edit]

Help the Aged was founded in 1961 by Cecil Jackson-Cole, with the aim to free disadvantaged older people from poverty, isolation and neglect.


The two brand logos from the merged charities gradually disappeared after the new Age UK brand was launched (on 19 April 2010) and new brand-awareness developed during 2010. Hollywood stars Eleanor Bron, Brian Cox and Ian McKellen appeared in a series of TV advertisements to support the new charity. All three actors gave their time free of charge.[12]


Age UK helps to fund, and is aided with funds raised by, the national will-making scheme Will aid, in which participating solicitors waive their usual fee to write a basic will and in exchange invite the client to donate to charity.[13]

In January 2016, it was announced that Age UK's would be one of the chosen charities for Santander's The Discovery Project alongside Barnardo's. As well giving as financial donations to the charity project, Santander will also allow staff to volunteer on the phonelines.[14]

The Wireless[edit]

In April 2012, Age UK launched The Wireless radio station. Initially an Internet-only station, broadcasting 24 hours a day. Featuring Graham Dene (ex-Capital Radio and Virgin Radio) and David Hamilton (ex-BBC Radio, Capital Gold and Saga Radio) as the lead presenters, The Wireless provides "a mix of music, entertainment, and information to improve later life in the UK".[15] It also features a weekly news and current affairs show, Agenda, hosted by broadcaster and former BBC newsreader Martyn Lewis. In 2018,[16] Wireless Radio was scaled down to a playlist presented on TuneIn.[17]


In 2016 Age UK came under fire for recommending an energy tariff through a partnership with E.On. Sun claimed Age UK’s Enterprises division was overcharging customers signing up to a E.ON/Age Concern gas and electricity tariff marketed to older customers.[18]It emerged that Age UK had made millions by providing insurance and funeral services to older people via Age UK Enterprises Ltd.[19] In 2019 it was claimed that Age UK was sending users through its commercial arm (Age Co) to an equity release advice service provided by Hub Financial, a company wholly owned by Just Group. While customers were told that Hub compared deals from a panel of five providers, its advice process was structured so that in most cases a customer would be offered a deal by just one panel member, namely Just.[20]


  1. ^ Charity Commission. Age UK, registered charity no. 1128267.
  2. ^ "Help the Aged and Age Concern England". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  3. ^ official web site
  4. ^ "Age UK Homepage". Age UK. Archived from the original on 30 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
  5. ^ "Charity Finance Article". Charity Finance. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  6. ^ Third Sector online article, retrieved 1 April 2009 Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Help the aged and Age Concern England merger moves forward". Community Care. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2008.
  8. ^ "Chief Executive named for age charities". Third Sector. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  9. ^ "Tom Wright to leave Age UK and join Guide Dogs as chief executive". Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Age UK appoints new CEO and Chairman". Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Age UK appoints new CEO and chairman". Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  12. ^ Sweney, Mark (19 April 2010). "Hollywood actors star in Age UK ad". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 22 April 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  13. ^ Will Aid Archived 20 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Age UK The WIRELESS". Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  16. ^ "Wireless Radio - homepage". Archived from the original on 4 October 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  17. ^ "The Wireless Radio - Important Information". Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  18. ^ in April 2016.
  19. ^
  20. ^ 'Age UK equity release deals under fire', Adam Williams, Daily Telegraph, 4 May 2019

External links[edit]