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Keeping the Doors Open

In June 2022, Age Scotland surveyed our community member groups to identify the main challenges they are facing and find out more about their experiences over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

Almost a quarter of Age Scotland community member groups completed the survey, which covered a range of topics, including:

  • attendance levels and whether these had changed since before the pandemic
  • whether groups and organisations had met or delivered services during this time
  • whether they are currently meeting or delivering services
  • what challenges they face and how these could be resolved

Sadly, over the past two years more than 30 older people’s community groups in membership of Age Scotland have closed, and we know that others are struggling. Our report on the survey’s findings highlights what groups told us and makes recommendations about how we can support them going forward.

The number of clubs like ours that have gone since the coronavirus is is essential that those left are supported to ensure they do not go the same way.

Volunteer-led organisation providing social activities, services and lobbying/campaigning, 50-100 members, Renfrewshire

Our group has been decimated over the pandemic period, not through the virus, but through the advanced age of group members. We are at present attempting to re-establish the group. 

Volunteer-led veterans' group, 10-24 members, Argyll and Bute

We are incredibly grateful to the groups who took the time to share their experiences and views in this survey, and for the vital work undertaken by all older people's groups across Scotland.


We also asked groups to share with us in their own words what they mean to the people that attend them and their local community.

The majority of responses mentioned the central role community groups and services for older people play in tackling loneliness and social isolation. Other answers included helping people to remain active, offering educational activities and learning, improving mental health, supporting people living with dementia and unpaid carers, and enabling older people to access information and signposting.

While the rich insights captured in our report are likely to be familiar to those involved in organising and attending older people’s groups, we hope this report will underline the importance of older people’s community groups and the scale of the challenges many groups are facing. 

I have serious concerns that it may not be possible to continue operating in this current environment of large energy bills

Volunteer-led organisation providing services, 10-24 members, Falkirk

Many funders have changed priorities during the pandemic, with some now excluding services such as ours. This is a concern. 

Staffed organisation providing social activities and services, more than 100 members, East Renfrewshire

Calls to Action

Older people’s community groups make Scotland a happier and healthier place to live.

We are calling for the Scottish Government, local authorities, funders, politicians, and other partners to commit to continuing to provide groups with the resources and support they need to flourish in the long term.

Our report sets out a number of targeted recommendations for the Scottish Government, local authorities, politicians, funders and for ourselves as the national charity for older people.

Keeping the Doors Open

Read our calls to action for Scottish Government, local authorities, and others

Age Scotland Membership

Becoming an Age Scotland Member allows you to join a fantastic network of groups, organisations and individuals across Scotland who are working to ensure everyone can love later life.

Membership is free and open to groups, organisations and individuals who support our vision and aims.

Need to get in touch?

If you'd like to discuss the report's findings, please contact Age Scotland's policy team ( / 0333 323 2400)

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