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

Trish Hafford-Letchfield, Peter Lavender

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPaulo Freire and Transformative Education
Subtitle of host publicationChanging Lives and Transforming Communities
EditorsAlethea Melling, Ruth Pilkington
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781137542502
ISBN (Print)9781137542496
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2018


  • Freire
  • learning mentors
  • ageing
  • care homes
  • Informal learning
  • formal learning
  • fourth age

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