Community consultation is increasingly favoured as a means of ensuring that health services adequately meet population needs, yet research, has highlighted the frequency of inadequate and tokenistic consultation. Our aim was to address the gap in understanding of the mechanisms of successful community consultation by being the first study to examine consultation events for older adults in one of the most deprived local authority areas in the UK. A naturalistic world café was co‐designed with a community engagement service. Adults aged 68–91 years (n = 103) participated in one of two world café discussions. Qualitative findings demonstrated the mechanisms behind and the added value of consultation with disadvantaged older adults. Forums were found to not only offer space within which opinions could be voiced, they also supported information gathering, the adoption of civic responsibilities and social activities. Understanding of the added value of consultation forums may incentivise service providers to facilitate more meaningful consultation and encourage scholars to examine think more critically about social mechanisms that promote active ageing.