By Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish
WE all know that ageing can be difficult. As time goes on, we find it harder to do certain things and it can feel we’re being left behind by a world that often moves so fast.
The places we live are often not designed with older people in mind. Whether it’s inaccessible public spaces or a lack of public services like buses or community groups, some places just aren’t age friendly.
Luckily for us in Denton, this is an issue that is being taken seriously at a local level.
Last year, Greater Manchester became the first region in the UK to be recognised internationally by the World Health Organisation as age friendly.
This came after Mayor Andy Burnham set out an ambitious strategy to make Greater Manchester the best place in the UK to grow older.
Responsibility for this is in the very capable hands of Denton’s own Brenda Warrington, the wonderful leader of Tameside Council. Brenda is the portfolio leader for Age-Friendly Greater Manchester and is working hard to deliver for the older members of our community.
While it is great that our city region has been recognised for the efforts we are already making, we cannot rest on our laurels. That is why Andy Burnham has issued an age-friendly challenge.
He wants to find the best examples of how to be age friendly from across Greater Manchester so that they can be shared and copied.
This could be installing benches or ramps or setting up IT support groups or gardening clubs.
The challenge is being taken up by neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester where voluntary and community groups, local businesses, public services and older people’s groups are coming together to work collectively to make their neighbourhood more age friendly.
Here in Denton, Denton South is one of four neighbourhoods in Tameside that won in the first round of the Age-Friendly Challenge.
There are lots of things going on locally, including all sorts of events and activities put on by the Forever Green community group and the Eventfull community team.
It is great to know that so much work is already going into making Denton a more age-friendly town, but there is certainly more to be done, and I will continue to do what I can in Parliament to make life better for the older members of our community.