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History of AWOC

AWOC was established as a cause in 2014 after an article in The Guardian written by Kirsty Woodard.

Kirsty came together with Jody Day founder of Gateway Women, Dr Robin Hadley and Mervyn Eastman to raise awareness of the issues affecting people ageing without children. A website, Facebook group and Twitter feed were set up, a survey of 400 people ageing without children was carried out and a conference attended by 100 people was held in London. 

In 2015 AWOC was established as a legal entity and the organisation began applying for funding.

In 2016 with funding from the Beth Johnson Foundation, the organisation researched and published “Our Voices – the experiences of people ageing without children” and was also successful in obtaining a small development grant of £25,000 from Big Lottery.

In 2018 a new Board was recruited and bids were submitted to Big Lottery Fund, Tudor Trust, NESTA, Esme Fairburn in partnership with Age UK London  and Transform Ageing. The Transform Ageing bid was successful and gave the organisation £15,000 to carry out work in the south west.

However, none of the other bids were successful and in 2019 having exhausted all the options open to them, the Board decided to close the organisation. The PRAMA Foundation offered to keep work on the issue alive and in September 2019 the organisation's assets were handed to PRAMA and the organisation closed down.

In 2020, Covid19 brought into sharp relief the fact that without an organisation to advocate for them, people ageing without children were dangerously marginalised and excluded. With that in mind a number of people came together to discuss whether AWOC could be re-established. 

We have now applied to the Charity Commission for registration as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), with Paul Goulden, Jenny Collieson and Jason Bergen as trustees. Kirsty will continue to support and advise the new Board.


Our Vision
is a world where people without children are enabled to age well

Our Mission
is campaigning, information and support for people ageing without children


We are currently applying for registration with the Charity Commission to take the work forward, focusing on:

  • Local groups – where people ageing without children can come together for peer support, to share experiences, obtain information and work with local organisations to ensure that the needs of people ageing without children are included in policy, planning and services for older people. The local groups will be run by volunteers ageing without children and supported by AWOC.

  • Campaigning and influencing at all levels of government, to raise the issues of those ageing without children so that their needs are addressed.

  • Supporting people ageing without children with resources, links to information and advice, and events.


  • Surveyed of 400 people in 2015 to ascertain the thoughts of people ageing without children which formed the basis of AWOCs initial plans

  • Created AWOC groups in York, Leeds & Bradford

  • Set up a closed Facebook group which has over 1800 members

  • Created a website that has over 60,000 visitors

  • Set up a Twitter feed which has over 3000 followers

  • Held two conferences, first in London in 2015 and the second in Birmingham in 2016 focusing specifically on planning for later life without children

  • Partnered with the Beth Johnson Foundation in a successful bid to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to deliver two pilot workshops on planning for a later life without children

  • With funding from Beth Johnson Foundation, researched and published “Our Voices”, a report detailing the lived experiences of people ageing without children which is available for free download from the AWOC website

  • Worked with the Prama Foundation to develop guidelines for organisations wanting to set up AWOC groups

  • Part of the Transform Ageing progamme being piloted in the south west

  • We have achieved so much in such a short time because of:

    • Our focus and concentration of effort: on an issue that, before AWOC, had received little attention

    • Our credibility: our founder and directors all self-identify as ageing without children and, in consequence, bring not only passion and commitment, but personal authority and integrity to the work of the organisation, and

    • Our ability to forge connections: our founder and supporters have and continue to build networks and engage stakeholders

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