Age UK – far more than the partnership with John Lewis


We’re delighted to be working with John Lewis and Age UK to raise more this Christmas.  Here’s a guest blog from Age UK about how the donations raised this Christmas will make a real difference.

Even before our Christmas partnership with John Lewis, the chances are you’ve heard of Age UK. Most people have.

In fact, as a charity that’s been in existence barely 5 years – formed from a merger of Age Concern & Help the Aged in 2010 – Age UK has a remarkably high brand awareness.

Our mission is simple, yet ambitious (as all the best ones are): to help people enjoy a better later life, and we work tirelessly to achieve that.

But when you ask people what we do, one of our big challenges becomes clear. There’s no clear consensus.

Many know our charity shops (we have more than 400 across the UK), a lot have bought home, car or travel insurance from our social enterprise, thousands will have come into contact with one of around 160 local Age UKs, while hundreds of thousands have called our National Advice Line to get some help relating to an older friend, relative or themselves.

You see, we cover a lot of bases. We’re not a single-issue charity like Save The Children or Cancer Research UK, for example. If there’s an age-related issue out there, the chances are we offer help and support for it.

So what do we choose to focus on? We currently have three key strategic objectives at Age UK:

  • Become the first port of call for any issue concerning older people: whether someone is confused about care, thinks they may be entitled to extra benefits or is concerned about dementia, we want Age UK to be one of the first numbers they call. We currently answer around 300,000 calls a year and our national Advice line is open 365 days a year.
  • Person-centred care: putting care into the hands of the individual, allowing them to be in control and helping the NHS and social care providers to work together better.
  • Loneliness: more than 1m older people go more than a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. A shocking statistic in 2015.

And it’s that issue of loneliness that provided the link to the amazing partnership with John Lewis. Although they’ve partnered with charities at Christmas before, this was the first time their ad has had an explicit link to a particular issue.

Our own message of ‘no one should have no one’ ties in so well with their ‘show someone they’re loved this Christmas’ strapline, but even we have been bowled over by how well it’s been received.

During that crucial first 48 hours after the launch of the John Lewis Christmas ad, the donations came in thick and fast and we were swamped by people calling, wanting to volunteer for us.

Our follow-up appeal video has been similarly well-received and the whole campaign has blended seamlessly with our Tube and train poster campaigns for ‘No one should have no one at Christmas’.

But once Christmas has been and gone, we know that millions of older people will still need advice and support – January always sees a flood of people wanting help with money – so we’ll continue to try and help people love later life.