The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has launched a two-week Festival of Ageing by issuing a challenge to find the most age-friendly places and projects across the city region.
The Mayor is asking the voluntary and community sector, public services, and older people’s groups to submit their best age-friendly schemes and help deliver more age-friendly neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester.
Mayor Andy Burnham said: “In March this year, Greater Manchester was recognised by the World Health Organization as the UK’s first age-friendly city region in response to the incredible work being done to make this a great place to grow older. This is a fantastic accolade but we need to take practical steps to make changes and I want people to think about what needs to happen to make sure we’re living not just longer but happier and healthier.
“In Greater Manchester we’re celebrating the fact that people are living longer. We’re pioneering a new positive vision of ageing, demonstrating the valuable contribution older people make to the city region and helping everyone live a fuller later life.”
The Mayor’s Age-Friendly Communities Challenge calls for submissions of activity that are making our city region a better place to grow older. Phase one of the challenge focuses on communities and neighbourhoods – age-friendly places that are making a difference to older people’s everyday lives.
The new Greater Manchester Combined Authority lead for Age-Friendly Greater Manchester and Equalities, Brenda Warrington, said: “We’re determined to make Greater Manchester the best place in the UK to grow older. To achieve this, it’s vital that we begin to embed age-friendly thinking and design across all sectors.
“The Mayor’s challenge will kick-start a more positive approach to ageing that will enable us all to continuing living our lives to the full, staying physically and socially active as we age.”
The voluntary and community sector, public services and older people’s groups are invited to put forward their best age-friendly schemes and be considered for age-friendly neighbourhood accreditation. To find out more or take part, you can register your interest through the Greater Manchester Combined Authority website – www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/agefriendlychallenge.
Submissions will be reviewed by an expert panel chaired by Prof. Chris Phillipson from MICRA at The University of Manchester. Other panellists will include representatives from Greater Manchester Older People’s Network, Ambition for Ageing, and the Centre for Ageing Better. Successful applicants will also be offered support to further develop their plans by the Ambition for Ageing programme.
Chris Phillipson, Professor of Sociology and Social Gerontology at the University of Manchester, will chair the challenge’s judging panel. He said: “This is an exciting initiative for Greater Manchester; age-friendly neighbourhoods are a crucial resource for improving the lives of older people in our city region.
“We know that for people aged 70 or older, 80% of their time is spent in the home and the surrounding neighbourhood. Research shows us that supportive places and communities are a major asset for improving older people’s quality of life. We need more collaborative approaches where older residents are involved in shaping their environment, and to promote a positive vision of ageing for us all as we grow older.”
To support the Mayor’s challenge, a portfolio of existing age-friendly good practice has been put together by the organisation, Ambition for Ageing, and the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub, to help showcase current successes and provide inspiration for new ideas.
A second phase of the Mayor’s age-friendly challenge, expected 2019, will expand on the age-friendly communities challenge, inviting submissions on wider issues including employment, housing, and culture.
Greater Manchester’s Festival of Ageing launches on 2 July in Albert Square, Manchester, with a host of activities to showcase the clubs, classes, and events available to help keep us active as we age.
Across the two weeks, more than 300 events involving thousands of older people will take place across Greater Manchester until July 15. In the same period, Greater Manchester is also hosting some of the world’s leading researchers on ageing for the British Society of Gerontology Conference at the University of Manchester.