A TAMESIDE neighbourhood is set to benefit from funding designed to improve local residents’ quality of life as they grow older.
Ridge Hill in Stalybridge is one of nine Greater Manchester communities, identified by local authorities and other partners, which would gain from a partnership programme led by the combined authority.
The move comes as government data shows that, for the first time in history, over 40 per cent of the UK population will be aged 50 and over by 2040, while people aged 75 and over spending at least 80 per cent of their time in their home or the surrounding area.
The Ageing in Place Pathfinder is investing £4 million over a three-year period so the neighbourhoods can establish resident-led partnerships between local organisations and older people to co-produce action plans to deliver improvements to local services and the physical environment.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority says the Pathfinder aims to make “meaningful and lasting changes” to help residents age well by “putting inclusivity and older people’s voices at the heart of the work”.
It adds that it is working with policymakers, developers, architects, academics and older people to increase the quality and quantity of age-friendly housing across the city-region.
An interdisciplinary Housing, Planning and Ageing Group, chaired by Greater Manchester Ageing Hub, has produced the ‘Creating Age-Friendly Developments’ guide.
The guide offers a list of age-friendly factors for architects, planners and developers to consider when creating new or retrofit urban developments, including how older people’s voices should be included in the planning process, how neighbourhoods can support ageing in place, and features of age-friendly housing.
Shannon Conway, Co-founder of Picture This and member of Greater Manchester Housing, Planning and Ageing Group, said: “Many working in the property industry associate the term ‘age-friendly’ with specialist retirement and later living development.
“This document provides a straightforward guide with examples of how age-friendly principles can be incorporated throughout all our buildings and public realm, futureproofing our built environment for all-ages communities.”
Nakib Narat, Co-chair of Greater Manchester Older People’s Equality Panel, said: “Many older people spend a lot of time in or around their home and that means it is essential to make sure all of our neighbourhoods and communities are age-friendly.
“To do this, it is vitally important that the voices of older people are at the centre of every place across Greater Manchester, we know these places and our contributions should be valued and celebrated.”
Councillor Arooj Shah, GMCA lead for Equalities and Communities, said: “We cannot ignore the fact that our population is ageing and action needs to be taken to ensure that Greater Manchester is accessible and welcoming to people of all ages.
“By engaging with older people and key stakeholders at a local level, we can significantly improve the lives of residents in mid to later life across our city-region.”