AN INNOVATIVE new project to develop pioneering age-friendly communities across Greater Manchester has been successful at the first stage of a bid to the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) national Healthy Ageing Challenge fund.
The Greater Manchester project aims to devise and create places where our healthy ageing population can live, with age-friendly homes designed to accommodate the needs of residents for social connections and living with long-term conditions.
The project is one of seven ‘trailblazers’ for UKRI’s nationwide Healthy Ageing Challenge. If successful at the second stage of the Challenge, Greater Manchester could attract up to £40m of funding from UKRI and the private sector, which will help create new jobs, stimulate the local economy and boost the UK’s expertise in extending quality of life in older age.
Greater Manchester’s trailblazer project proposes the development an age-friendly design agency; it also plans to explore the use of technology-enabled care by creating a testbed and marketplace for healthy ageing technology products and services, creating ways for products to be designed around the needs of older people.
Brenda Warrington, GMCA Lead for Age-Friendly GM and Equalities, said: “It’s great that Greater Manchester has attracted this further investment for our innovative work to improve lives for us all as we grow older.
“Our partnership spanning universities, private and public sectors has the potential to impact real change on people’s lives through new options for housing and healthy ageing technologies.”
Greater Manchester is already the UK’s first age-friendly city-region according to the World Health Organization. Its project will further support the city-region’s ambition to improve the lives of people aged 50 and over, where older residents are able to contribute to and benefit from sustained prosperity and enjoy a good quality of life.
The project sited in Greater Manchester is one of an initial seven across the United Kingdom through to the next stage of the competition. Each project is run by organisations as diverse as small business, corporates, charities and local authorities; all are developing ways of making people’s lives healthier, more socially connected and more independent as they age.
Elise Wilson, GMCA Lead on Economy, added: “Greater Manchester’s Local Industrial Strategy sets out our ambition to work with Government to provide global leadership on improving population health and healthy ageing. This is a great example of how we are putting that in to action.
“If successful, this innovation trailblazer will enable us to work in partnership with the business community to explore how we can co-design better technologies, homes, and communities that enable people to age well.”