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Insights about Age

Ideas plus people – the equation for better health

Big problems need radical ideas and action and they don’t come much bigger than improving health. In 2019, Forster has been helping clients promote radical ideas and inspire action off the back of them. The partnership we helped create between the Daily Mail and Helpforce inspired 33,000 people to volunteer with the NHS in 2019. ... more

17 December 2019
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Small and many is powerful

The cheerful gentleman on the right in this photo is Robin. He is a resident at Etheldred House, a care home in Histon, Cambridgeshire, where I live. Robin suffered a brain injury a few years back and now needs care support. He is unusual in that he is resident in the same care home as ... more

17 December 2019
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Reach out and connect

Back in 2013, the health secretary described loneliness among older people as “our national shame”. Fast forward to 2019 and more than nine million people in the UK say they “often or always” feel lonely. The loneliness epidemic isn’t new, and we are doing more to tackle it at a systemic level, but it often ... more

17 December 2019
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When funders get active

Big problems abound and urgent action is required to tackle them. Perhaps it has always been that way, but something has changed and there is an exciting shift in how many social funders are ramping up their approach to positive change. It is marked by a decisive move towards being more active and taking a ... more

21 November 2019
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Tackling isolation through innovation

We’re working on a great project with Nesta Challenges at the moment, relevant to all civil society organisations working to address social isolation. Tech can be alienating or divisive for those that are isolated, so we want to help civil society translate their knowledge into good ideas for new ways to connect people. The prize ... more

21 June 2019
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Transforming NHS volunteering

We launched Helpforce to the public via an exclusive, in depth interview with David Brindle in the Guardian on 6 December 2017. On 1 December 2018, the Daily Mail filled eight pages to encourage people to pledge time to support the NHS, yielding an incredible response from people of all ages across the country – ... more

12 December 2018
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Person centred social care – is it too much to ask?

You could hear a pin drop as the all too familiar stories were told. One from a council worker who is trying to provide assistance to an elderly couple in their home. His physical condition is deteriorating, but the only person whom his wife – managing some mental health issues of her own – trusts ... more

16 November 2018
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Adapting communications to changing lives

Earlier this month saw the publication of the government’s loneliness strategy and there is much to applaud in it. Firstly, it is great to even have a strategy for such a critical public health issue, and secondly, it is fantastic to see businesses such as Royal Mail playing an active role in tackling it. It’s ... more

26 October 2018
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We need safe spaces to challenge the status quo

Every year the UN celebrates International Youth Day, and this year the theme is Safe Spaces. A ‘safe space’ is not a tangible or physical location, more a descriptor of a culture in which people can share their experiences without judgement, in an environment where they can exist free from violence, harassment, or hate speech. ... more

Delivering the Sustainable Development Goals is everyone’s business but how do you convince everyone else of that?

This week Measuring Up, the first comprehensive assessment of the UK’s performance against the SDGs, was released. It makes for tough reading. The UK is performing well on only a quarter of all the goals, and the profound problems of poverty and malnutrition are on the rise. This matters for every business in the UK ... more

You are not alone

How do you solve really big problems? The answer never changes but always bares repeating – by working together. There is of course something very romantic about a lone visionary labouring away in a lab / garage / garden shed to conjure up game-changing inventions, innovations and insights, but the reality is far more likely ... more

How are we helping get more underrepresented groups into employment?

Advances in technology and the economic case for getting more underrepresented groups into employment highlight the need to support and deliver better services and resources for learners and job seekers. This Employability Day #EmpDay18 we’re celebrating businesses actively making a difference, improving society and changing lives in this area. Working with Young Women’s Trust, we ... more

28 June 2018
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Making flexible working work for you

Encouraging flexible and remote working can enable organisations to become more agile and better respond to the needs of their people. But how do we introduce flexibility and manage our culture effectively to avoid the ‘always switched on’ syndrome, while increasing outcomes? We spoke at the CIPD annual conference earlier this month about how you can ... more

23 November 2017
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Gen Up on Gen Z

Generation Z is sometimes referred to as the iGeneration. Born in the late 90s and through the 2000s they’re a diverse group of people who’ve never known life without the internet – they are digital natives. Gen Z are a key audience to instigating mass social change; 66% of teachers think current 14-17 year olds ... more

8 November 2017
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Bringing diversity and inclusion into the heart of a business

Diversity and inclusion is increasingly recognised as being vital to business success because the benefits of inclusion and diversity are clear. A range of backgrounds, faiths, genders and ethnicities bring new ideas, innovation and practices that can vastly improve operations. There are countless reports and studies which show the impact increasing diversity can have on ... more

28 September 2017
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Communication needs to be free from assumptions and biases

The Social Market Foundation estimates that raising disability employment to the national average would boost the UK economy by at least £13 billion. On average, disabled employees are just as productive as non-disabled people, have significantly less time off, fewer workplace accidents, and stay in their jobs longer. They have inside intelligence on the “purple ... more

24 August 2017
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Aviva: The business case for supporting staff with caring responsibilities

Employers for Carers estimates that one in nine workers are carers and one in six of these will leave the workforce due to their caring responsibilities. For Aviva UK that’s 1,700 carers, of which 300 are in danger of leaving. In the current economic climate it is an important time to retain skilled workers rather ... more

9 February 2017
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Making the target a reality

When it comes to encouraging urgent action on a specific issue, it helps to have a real and significant target or statistic. That is certainly the case when it comes to the need to increase the number of people aged 50 and over in employment. While there is a rise taking place (9.8 million were ... more

9 February 2017
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It’s all about the application

In the lead up to FutureFest last month, Nesta carried out a survey which revealed that more people would rather live now than in 20 years’ time. Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive at Nesta, reminded us that our future is a choice; we have an opportunity to change this fear into possibility. “The concept of the ... more

22 years: Proof Positive

We’ve been thinking positively and working with our clients to make real positive change for the last 22 years. Here are just a few of the things we’re most proud of which show that if businesses, governments, charities and people work together, we can make good things happen…   In 2003 we created Seeing is ... more

Watch your language to reap the business benefits

An age-shift is underway in society. People are living longer but we haven’t yet fully woken up to the value of older adults. Just check out the language often used to talk to or about older people – demeaning and diminishing words and phrases that reinforce ignorance and institutional ageist attitudes. In terms of their ... more

13 July 2016
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Combatting ageism, fear and loathing in Brexit Britain

For many years ageist attitudes and behaviours have gone unchallenged in the UK. With Brexit deepening the generational divide and triggering an outpouring of ageist vitriol, the need to tackle age discrimination is now more urgent than ever before.  As we grapple with the ramifications of the EU Referendum result, one thing is abundantly clear: ... more

7 July 2016
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Five Ways We Can All Limit Loneliness

Loneliness is a public health crisis. And one that's getting worse. It's a crisis facing individuals, so it's often invisible, yet pervasive - in organisations, at home, among the young and elderly, advantaged and disadvantaged. ... more

7 January 2016
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Bringing business to society

As the year comes to an end, you would be forgiven for believing the world has never been in worse shape. Social unrest, environmental devastation, economic uncertainty, multiple conflicts and the seemingly relentless rise of extremism – all have reared their heads repeatedly in 2015. But, you’d be wrong. The world is currently more peaceful, ... more

A year of digital milestones

We live in a fast moving digital world and it can be hard to keep up with all the latest innovations. Below are ten of the biggest digital developments in 2015. Sign up here to receive our regular round-up of digital news in 2016. Virtual Reality just got real Facebook launched 360 Video, completely changing the ... more

Study reveals issues that mattered most in 2015

Homelessness, feminism and mental health establish themselves in national psyche As the year comes to a close and attention turns to the year that was, Forster, the communications agency working with businesses and charities to accelerate change, today reveals the social issues that most captured the nation’s attention over the last 12 months. Social media ... more

We’re in the business of action

Raising awareness is one thing, getting people to take action is another. We’ve spent 20 years successfully inspiring the latter and have brought all that knowhow together to create our new Activation practice. It will focus on helping clients create campaigns and movements that inspire people to challenge attitudes, support a cause, change the way ... more

The Future of Business: When business gets smart on age…

When we are failing the old and the young, our society has come to a pretty pass. Where we are failing, however, is in an understanding of and empathy with what it means to be both 17 and 71. Today, our challenge is not so much to understand old age, or youth, as separate entities, but to understand age itself as a whole ... more

11 November 2015
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Christmas with a cause

Despite many of my Forster colleagues doing their best to convince me otherwise, it’s clear this week that the great Christmas countdown has well and truly begun – at least in the world of marketing. First we had the Starbucks red cups, attempting to convince us that nothing says Christmas better than 400 calories worth ... more

6 November 2015
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When business gets smart on age…

As society increasingly ignores the old and abandons the young, it falls to business to lead the way with smart ageing ... more

27 October 2015

Let’s make the most of the age of sharing

Times are hard and money is tight, so perhaps it isn’t surprising that many charities are revamping or developing volunteer programmes, hoping to get people to donate time and skills in exchange for an experience and the opportunity to make a difference. If they are half serious about it they’ll be considering how best to ... more

24 August 2015
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Telling the true story of care

Carers come in all shapes and sizes. They are those caring for elderly parents while holding down full time jobs and bringing up children. They are sometimes the children themselves, forgoing a childhood to care for disabled parents or siblings. Unpaid carers underpin so many families and networks, often silently plugging the gaps left by ... more

18 June 2015

There’s nothing shameful about the menopause, so why is it still considered taboo?

All women have a unique health issue that is largely ignored in the workplace: the menopause. It’s time we treated it with all the seriousness and care it deserves. And we can start by breaking the silence and ending the stigma. It was a few years back now that I remember telling a young colleague ... more

16 June 2015
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Work on and live with purpose

The good news – we’re living longer. The challenge – we haven’t updated the way we think about our working careers and ‘retirement’. You simply can’t finance a 30 year retirement with a 40 year working life. But that’s what it seems we’re trying to do! It’s time to redesign the approach to retirement. In ... more

27 May 2015

Action on Dementia

In the multiplicity of awareness weeks, days, hours even, it seems oddly appropriate that Dementia Awareness Week follows directly from Mental Health Awareness Week. Dementia and mental health share many things in common – stigma, misunderstanding, fear and a wide spectrum of conditions under each collective grouping. However, there is room to be positive. The ... more

14 May 2015

Hello death

There is nothing new about dying. Whilst this statement is factually correct it is also the reality when it comes to the way most of us talk about and deal with death. Being the son of a priest meant that my sister and I grew up in an environment where a hammer was frequently taken ... more

27 April 2015

It’s a duty thing

Thousands of people give their time freely to underpin civic institutions and processes that most of us take for granted, from schools through to the criminal justice system and local government. Magistrates, school governors, local councilors, trustees – many of the core pillars of of our society are held together by the unpaid time of ... more

10 September 2014

Time for fundraising to look up

Xtraordinary Fundraising, Forster Communications and Blackbaud Inc have produced a new research report looking at the giving habits of the two older generations of UK donors – baby boomers and those born before 1945 – alongside their peers in the US and Canada, which highlights the potential they offer and the need for charities to ... more

1 September 2014

I’m retiring ‘retirement’. Who will join me?

The day you get that free pen in the charity mailer, you know it’s started. The beginning of the rest of your life. The re-labelling of the individual you thought you were. Now part of the homogenous mass of ‘oldies’, also known as ‘the over 50s’. Scratch all that. I’m a Baby Boomer and am ... more

3 June 2014

Trust me, I’m a computer

A few years ago we gave my Grandma a laptop for Christmas. I spent days trying to teach her how to use it. It wasn’t that she didn’t understand the technology or how to use the Internet; she just didn’t trust it: “Why do they want my date of birth? How does this website remember my personal details? Why would I request to be friends ... more

29 January 2014

Future positive

Rip up the past, make new rules Unlike governments, which seem enfeebled and out of time everywhere, more and more businesses are realising that they can change the world for the better by putting purpose at the centre of everything they do. In the UK, when we need to be looking ahead, much of 2014 ... more

Rip it up and start again

Today we’ve launched our new winter insight report, “Rip it up and start again” to inspire businesses to think differently about how to create change 2014.. It’s full of provocations, ideas and inspiring examples of businesses bringing their energy, flair and innovation to bear on a range of issues from an ageing population through to reducing wasteful ... more

We’re not allowed to discriminate… but we do

Last week Forster had a session on becoming a dementia friends. For those not familiar with the scheme this is an hour’s interactive briefing run by Alzheimer’s Society, designed to make people more aware of what it is like to have dementia and the problems those with the disease encounter on a daily basis. As ... more

A ‘National Downsizing Agency’ could free up a million family-sized homes

Stephen Burke, Director of United for All Ages, has recently launched a paper titled ‘A Future For All Ages’ which considers the challenges and potential solutions to some of the greatest challenges faced by both young and old in Britain today. The paper draws on the work of the social enterprise and the series of ... more

3 June 2013

Pint of best? That’ll be £50,000, sir

How would you incentivise young men not to drink and drive? Tasked by the Department for Transport to develop a PR programme, Forster decided to hit them in their wallets. Over the years, many a creative approach to convey drink drive messaging has been developed, with varying success. When Forster was asked to create a ... more

22 April 2013
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Loud and Proud

In early February, Forster had the privilege of playing an integral role in the delivery of an amazing art event at the Tate Modern. Conceived by artist, Suzanne Lacy, SILVER ACTION brought together 400 women aged 60 and over who have been UK activists in the last 40 years. Suzanne Lacy says the question of ... more

13 February 2013

Generations Talking Together: a new debate

At the end of January, Forster and United For All Ages came together to run Generations Talking Together, a series of discussions in News International’s boardroom examining intergenerational tension. The debates were attended by 80 people from a wide variety of backgrounds from CEOs of major charities, to the Head of Economics at a trade ... more

11 February 2013
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Two ears, one mouth: so listen twice as hard

In the last fortnight I have had the good fortune to listen to some truly fascinating debates. I have not been on the panel, or been asked to speak at any of them, simple to go along and listen. Forster and United For All Ages ran a series called Generations Talking Together, a set of ... more

6 February 2013

Generations Talking Together: stimulating a new discussion on work and technology

Last week we hosted the first two sessions from a new series called Generations Talking Together, examining intergenerational tension with a diverse panel including academics, senior corporate influencers, charities and influential individuals. The initial session examined housing issues with Rosie Bennett, some points from the discussion were written about in this Bricks & Mortor column ... more

28 January 2013

Passionate about art, feminism and social media?

On Sunday 3 February 2013, Tate Modern is hosting the creation of a new participatory artwork by artist Suzanne Lacy  that brings together themes in British public discourse: ageing, activism, and the role of women’s personal commitment in shaping the public agenda. Featured recently in the Evening Standard 400 older women who have played their part in ... more

23 January 2013

Generations Talking Together: a new discussion on housing and health

Who has it hardest– older people, younger people or the sandwiched generations in the middle? Has the recession and government cuts affected some age groups more than others? Many hold firm and conflicting opinions on the answers to these questions. But irrespective of the disagreements, there is an agreement that we are currently in a ... more

21 January 2013

My new role model: a 93 year old bodybuilder

Not going to the gym; what’s your excuse? I’ll go tomorrow; today has been a busy day. Oh but there is a good program on T.V tonight, maybe next time. I would, but I’m too tired. None of these excuses seemed to have crossed the mind of Dr Charles Eugster.  At 93 years of age, ... more

9 November 2012

Help me plan for the future

I can’t make up my mind where to go on holiday next year. And I still haven’t decided what to do this weekend. Hey, I don’t even know what I want for lunch today. So it will come as no surprise that I haven’t thought much about my future when it comes to care. And ... more

31 October 2012

Ageing well

Living longer without good health is becoming a personal and collective problem that organisations must respond to. While the Office for National Statistics puts current female life expectancy at birth as 82 and 78 for men, the fastest growing part of the UK population is the 85+ group. 47% of people aged 75+ have a ... more

24 October 2012

Recognising, rewarding and encouraging good care skills

Last week Barchester Healthcare spoke publically about their difficulty in recruiting young talent. Jeremy Coleman, the HR director at Barchester Healthcare outlined his frustrations at having hundreds of jobs that they struggle to fill due to the poor level of applicants. From his experience many of the potential young candidates he meets are either not ... more

22 October 2012

Isolation in the elderly, facing up to the challenge

Vicki Purewal, Head of Nesta’s Centre for Challenge Prizes writes a guest post for Forster Today we work longer hours, later into our lives. Jobs continue to cut deeper into our existence as our work ethic intensifies and this has had a profound effect on many people’s social lives. Longer working hours have left many ... more

20 August 2012

Moving beyond discrimination: 50+ interns

Depressing statistics were revealed in the latest analysis by the Resolution Foundation which showed the UK is lagging behind other countries in the employment of older workers. In fact the number of older workers who have remained out of work for more than a year has risen from 33.2% to 44.5%, with women particularly affected. ... more

17 August 2012

Never too old for gold

Ping Pong is a new film that draws on sport, specifically table tennis, to tell stories of the “hopes, regrets, and immediacy of getting old”. As we are being flooded with images of the bright young things that are hoping to pick up medals in the Olympics, it’s refreshing to be reminded that contrary to ... more

24 July 2012

White paper fails to tackle the care crisis

So two years after the coalition government’s agreement to make reform of care funding a top priority and a year after the Dilnot commission reported, the government has published its white paper on the future of care for adults and particularly older people. The publication has been greeted with disappointment and bitterness. Put simply, why ... more

11 July 2012

Campaign to End Loneliness launches online toolkit targeted at health and wellbeing boards

The idea that older people often suffer from loneliness is not exactly new, but the extent and impact of this problem is rarely discussed. This makes today’s launch of the new online tool kit designed by Forster for Campaign to End Loneliness all the more important. The charity coalition group highlighted that 8-10% of older ... more

9 July 2012
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No neat lines in life

A recent conference on the challenges – and opportunities – of an ageing population, brought into sharp focus for the me the fact that there are no neat lines to draw around where ‘services’ stop and where ‘social life, family and friends’ start. For example the relatively straight forward service of an older person’s medical ... more

6 July 2012

Plan to make the future different

As we experience an intensive period when national self-esteem is in the spotlight, from Jubilee to Olympics, it’s worthwhile taking a moment to think about the vast communications effort that has gone into making people feel good about all this. more

18 June 2012

Another way to tackle the care crisis?

A white paper on care is due out shortly and it’s almost a year since the Dilnot report on reforming care funding. So it’s remarkable that the government seems no closer to reaching a way forward on the pressing issue of how we pay for better care for our ageing population. Yet without urgent action ... more

14 May 2012
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Let’s care about carers

The principle of personalisation – for both the cared for and the carer – is absolutely right. The systems, services and support – the real choices – just aren’t there yet. Over 3 million people juggle care with work. However, the significant demands of caring mean that 1 in 5 carers is forced to give ... more

9 May 2012

Changing the perception of retirement

My Dad is calling ‘retirement’ his ‘gap year’. Like many his age, he has retired with numerous ambitions, an agile mind, in good physical shape, and with a very long list of things he wants to do. Retirement is no longer the point at which people are leaving work because they are unable to do ... more

11 April 2012

Older age – new rites and responsibilities?

When are you going to retire? Are you going to retire? Today, there is a focus like never before on what it means to grow into older age. If you’re in your 40s and 50s now, chances are that you’ll have a close relative to look after more closely, or at least be aware of ... more

29 March 2012

Finding your feet

Growing into your later years provides you with a great opportunity: the chance to find and take a suitable form of exercise that keeps you physically fit and mentally strong. Exercise is emerging as one of the most potent factors influencing health in old age. But doesn’t exercise stress the body, potentially causing more rather ... more

28 March 2012

Age-related marketing – getting beyond the Catch 22

Hmmm…you’re over 50, you’re bound to relate to Ronnie Corbett. We’ll wheel him out for our campaign. more

21 March 2012