Joanna Elson CBE will be starting her new role as Chief Executive at Independent Age on Monday 25 September 2023, to lead the only UK charity solely dedicated to tackling poverty in later life. Joanna’s appointment was announced back in June, the same month the charity unveiled its renewed focus on financial hardship.

Joanna brings a wealth of experience from her previous role leading the Money Advice Trust, which became an outstanding provider of free, impartial advice for individuals with problem debt. She is also the Chair of the Advisory Board at Birmingham University’s Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management, a member of the Government’s Financial Inclusion Policy Forum, and a director of UK Finance, representing vulnerable customers. Jonna’s contributions to financial inclusion were rewarded in 2022 when she received a CBE.

Baroness Neuberger, DBE, Chair of Trustees at Independent Age said:

“I am delighted that Joanna has joined Independent Age at such a pivotal moment for the charity. Joanna is joining us with an exceptional track record in working with people struggling with their finances, which perfectly positions her to lead Independent Age as we move forward in our aim to improve the lives of older people in the UK living in financial hardship. Her vast experience speaks for itself, Joanna is widely recognised as a key public figure committed to enhancing financial inclusion, and we are confident that she will be pivotal in leading our future impact.”

Joanna Elson CBE, Independent Age’s new Chief Executive said:

In preparation for my new role as CEO, I’ve met some of the older people the charity works with and read through many of the stories of the thousands of older people in financial hardship who we come into contact with each year.

“Tales of people eating one meal a day; walking around the house in a coat, hat and scarf due to the cold; risking falls by avoiding turning on the lights at night; sitting alone inside all day because they can’t afford to meet their friends for a cup of tea. The list goes on. Much of what we hear is both shocking and upsetting and goes against the pervasive myth that all older people live a later life of comfort and security. 

Throughout my working life, I’ve found myself drawn to roles that help people who are struggling financially. That’s why I chose to join Independent Age. Alongside my new colleagues, I will be working tirelessly over the next three years to achieve our bold and ambitious goal, to improve the lives of one million older people in financial hardship by 2027.”

Independent Age renewed its focus in June 2023 to focus on alleviating financial hardship in later life. With 2.1 million older people living in poverty and many more hovering precariously on the edge, the charity has four key areas of focus – income, costs, housing and community.

Joanna’s first day in her new role will be spent at the Liberal Democrat conference where she will take part in a panel event entitled ‘A fair retirement: addressing pensioner poverty’. Joanna will also speak as part of panel events at the Conservative and Labour conferences in October.


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Notes to editor

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Below is a photo of Joanna Elson CBE.


Smiling woman outside of Independent Age offices

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