Chapter 2.2: The Benefits of Giving: Learning in the Fourth Age and the Role of Volunteer Learning Mentors

  • Trish Hafford-Letchfield
  • Peter Lavender


Learning for the Fourth Age (L4A) is a social enterprise which recruits, trains, places and matches volunteers (‘learning mentors’) to older people living in care settings or domiciliary settings. We report on the findings of an independent evaluation, drawing on funding from the Big Lottery Silver Dreams programme. Our paper focuses on key findings from the generative aspects of L4A’s work by highlighting the rich experiences of ‘learning mentors’ who were unexpected mutual beneficiaries of L4A’s work. This paper aims to stimulate further debate about the complexity of the landscape in which members of the community interact with opportunities to volunteer. In addition, the challenge to capitalise on their contributions, contravening traditional notions about volunteering embedded within policy.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trish Hafford-Letchfield
    • 1
  • Peter Lavender
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Mental Health and Social WorkSchool of Health and Education, Middlesex UniversityLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute of EducationFaculty of Education Health and Wellbeing, University of WoverhamptonWoverhamptonUK

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