Independent Age

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Type of organisation Charitable organisation
Founded 1863
Volunteers Approximately 1,500
Employees Approximately 120
Motto Advice and support for older age
Formerly called Royal United Kingdom Beneficent Association (RUKBA)

Independent Age is an older peoples' charity based in the UK. It supports older people, their families, carers, and professionals. It provides information and advice through its website, printed publications (it distributes printed guides and factsheets), and Helpline, and its volunteers visit older people in their homes or call them regularly on the telephone to help reduce loneliness. It has offices in London, Newcastle and Glasgow, and staff and volunteers based in a number of other UK locations.

Its information and advice services cover subjects such as care and support, money and benefits, health and mobility. The charity makes a point of not selling products or services (other than fundraising items such as Christmas cards), or receiving payment for any recommendations it makes.

Its volunteers fulfill a range of functions. Most make regular telephone calls or visits so that older people have someone to talk to regularly. More specialist roles might involve helping people through a difficult time (such as a bereavement), helping older people become more involved in their communities, and letting people know about the charity locally. These more specialist roles are currently at pilot stage and are only available in certain locations around the UK. Other volunteer roles involve organising or training other volunteers, helping with local administrative tasks, and a range of other functions.

Independent Age also campaigns for the rights of older people, "to ensure people can enjoy a financially secure, healthy, active and connected older age" according to its website. The charity is not politically aligned.

The charity was formerly known as the Royal United Kingdom Beneficent Association (RUKBA). In 2005, the charity re-branded and became known as Independent Age but is still registered under its original name with the Charity Commission. It is a registered charity in England & Wales and in Scotland.


The charity began when six people set up a voluntary society, The United Kingdom Beneficent Association (UKBA), to aid the newly poor in 1863. Their goal was to prevent destitution by providing those in poverty with a small, regular income for life. Applicants were required to be over 40, living on less than £25 a year and from the 'upper and middle classes' (who were thought to have been 'sadly overlooked in the desire... to better the condition of the lower orders').

The original founders were Sir William Thomas Charley and his brother-in-law, Captain William Mackenzie, Captain James Story, Reverend William Cardall, Reverend Walter Howse, Revered William Windle, and Captain William Mackay Mackenzie.

UKBA was incorporated under the Royal Charter in 1911, and renamed The Royal United Kingdom Beneficent Association (RUKBA).

The charity was re-branded as Independent Age in 2005. In October 2011, Counsel and Care and Universal Beneficent Society (UBS) merged with Independent Age.


External links[edit]

Independent Age in the United Kingdom: