The Common Room. A place to discover your purpose.

by Dr Jonathan Collie in London, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 28th January 2019 we successfully raised £5,091 with 89 supporters in 48 days

To create an inspiring hub within every community, where people of all ages can discover their purpose and achieve fulfilment in life.

by Dr Jonathan Collie in London, England, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

We have big plans for The Common Room. We have demand for its purpose-focused, human-connected model, from Seoul, South Korea to San Francisco in the US. We need to create, test and prove a model that can thrive in any location, in any community. £10,000 would be incredible! It would enable us to plan for the opening of a second Common Room in a completely different setting, so we can begin exploring the best and quickest ways to grow The Common Room network around the UK, and around the world.

The Common Room is a brand new concept in intergenerational thinking. It is somewhere where younger and older come together in a dynamic space full of inspiration, energy and purpose. It is where human connection, collaboration and the power of “together” thrive. The Common Room enables people to (re)discover their purpose and reach new goals in life, whatever their age.

Over the last 12 months we have worked hard on this new social innovation. We have collaborated with more than 100 leaders from corporations, non-profits, government agencies, creative organisations and almost 200 citizens of all ages and backgrounds from across the UK. This is what we found...

Discovering what really matters

We set out to discover what “something” was missing in our lives and in our communities that would help heal the big societal rifts and enable us all to live more fulfilled, connected lives. In a world where, increasingly, we will be living for 100+ years (and working for 60+ of them), rethinking the services and systems that would enable a good life at every life stage has never been more urgent.

What our world needs

What we learnt from all those conversations rang out loud and clear. People care most about those they love, and about having purpose in their lives. We all want to live the best lives possible, and be part of a thriving

connected community. But we don’t always know where to find the inspiration and support needed to live the lives we aspire to. These discoveries were universal - being consistently felt across all ages.

The Common Room overview

We used these insights to develop a new service blueprint - a new sustainable business model that will deliver both social and economic impact at scale. It is call The Common Room. 

On a local basis, The Common Room is a physical place, deeply rooted within a community. It is a place where you join as a member and chart your own course of self-discovery and purpose, learning from and collaborating with those around you. The Common Room is like a human library, where every member in both a reader and a book, with new chapters being written every day.

Each Common Room will have a host team which will help you along your journey, connecting you with the right people and introducing you to the most appropriate and inspiring activities. 

The Common Room will enable people to acquire new skills, gain confidence, build networks, find work, start new careers, launch new startups, become more engaged in the community, participate in design-led focus groups, and collaborate on large problem-solving challenges.

The Common Room - how it was created

A local solution with global impact

Each Common Room will be a white-hot centre for social and economic innovation and productivity. But the really exciting part is how the global network of interconnected Common Rooms will begin to reshape how we live and work, based on crowd-sourced citizen-led innovation. Modern technology will enable

discoveries in Newcastle to be instantly accessible and built upon in Seoul, South Korea, or San Jose, California – two of the numerous cities which have expressed a desire to establish local Common Rooms as soon as the proven model is ready.

The impact it will have

On an individual level it will be the place to go for students looking for purpose in their lives; for retirees looking to reinvent themselves for a new career; for back-to-work mums & dads looking for a new work-life balance; for

teachers who have burnt out and don’t know what their skills could otherwise be good for; for police and firemen who are forced to retire too early; for builders whose knees or backs have taken too much punishment; for executives who want to escape the rat race…

The Common Room and the impact it will make

On a community level it will be a place for citizens to co-create a community in which to thrive; for local  authorities to engage with their local residents to better understand their needs; for the NHS to find help in co-designing health services; for police to find help in making the communities a safer place for everyone; for local politicians to really get to understand the needs of the citizens they serve…

On an economic level it will become a place that improves employability; a centre for lifelong learning; a place to find help getting a job or building a career; a place to connect with other inspired people to start a business or social enterprise; a place to crowd-source solutions to some of the largest and most intractable problems facing society today; a place for businesses to develop their leaders and teams for the future; a place to develop new products and services around real customer insights and involvement; a place to test new ideas, communications and brands…

On a global level it will become a powerful force for good, both socially and economically – using the power of human connection, the wisdom of age and the vigour of youth to transform how people, communities and

economies thrive in a world where we all expect to live longer, healthier and more productively than ever before.

We have momentum

We have spent more than a year developing The Common Room service model. Our first 150 members have already signed up. We have loads of volunteers to help us paint, decorate and operate. We have built and international fanbase. and we have even started to explore large funding streams for when we are ready to scale. But, right now, we need a little bit of capital just to get us started.

We are need to raise the £20,000 to open the very first Common Room - to pay for painting and decorating, chairs, tables, pens, paper, workshop equipment, and for early operational costs like marketing, a basic website, and some PR. We have also set a stretch target of £50,000, which, if we achieve it, will enable us to open a second Common Room elsewhere in the UK – and to create twice the impact and momentum. The sooner we create a repeatable Common Room model, the sooner we can bring The Common Room to your town or city, anywhere in the world.

Please give generously. In the age of the 100-year life and the 60-year career, The Common Room is a critically important project. Help us help people, communities and the world find their purpose. This is about all of us.

The Age of No Retirement is the world’s leading authority on intergenerational innovation. Our vision is for a world where our age does not define us, or the opportunities available to us — whether we are 1 or 101, and all the ages in between.

We are successfully building the business case of an age-neutral, intergenerational and united society. We concentrate on what we share in common across all ages, and create new solutions to everyone’s benefit — for citizens, workers and businesses.


Jonathan Collie, co-founder, +44(0)7887624385, [email protected]

Georgina Lee, co-founder, +44(0)7802536793, [email protected]


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£25 or more

£25 Reward

Your name will be included on our Supporters' Board which will be on prominent display at the entrance of every Common Room we establish. You will also be emailed a photograph of the Supporters' Board in situ at our first Common Room in Kings Cross, London. (You can, of course, choose to pledge anonymously. We will obtain your consent before including your name on any list!)

£75 or more

£75 Reward

Thank you! Your name will be included on our Supporters' Board, PLUS we will send you your member-for-life badge which will be your key to any Common Room around the world!

£250 or more

£250 Reward

Thank you! Your name will be included on our Supporters' Board, and you will receive a member-for-life badge and our "Purpose Poster", PLUS we will send you our unique booklet of Common Room members' stories, showing the impact that is achievable through human connection and intergenerational support.

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