In 2018 Greater Manchester was recognised by the World Health Organization as the UK’s first age-friendly city region. An age-friendly Greater Manchester means enabling people of all ages to actively participate in the life of our city region. It’s about supporting people to live healthy and active later lives, and to age well where they live. Increasing the supply of homes that meet the needs and aspirations of all ages is a shared priority for partners, and a strategic objective within the Greater Manchester Age-Friendly Strategy.
The Greater Manchester Ageing Hub, led by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), brings together partners to respond to the opportunities and challenges of an ageing population in the city region. Our focus is to bring research and innovation into policy and practice and promote evidence-based decision-making to improve the lives of older people.
Partners across Greater Manchester have been listening to the voices and experiences of our residents, delivering research and analysis, and developing new approaches to housing and the places in which older residents live. Over the last four years the Ageing Hub has convened partners to share this learning and experience through the Housing, Planning and Ageing Group.
This document builds on this collective work to set out a framework designed to achieve ambitious, long term outcomes. We seek to achieve a permanent cultural shift around housing in later life; recognising that people want a choice of different, affordable mainstream and specialist housing options, that meet both need and aspiration and in places where they can maintain or build social connections, achieve good health and independence.
The timeframe for this framework is three years and it will be underpinned by an annual work programme of priorities and tasks delivered across Greater Manchester and local authority partners, and driven forward by the Housing, Planning and Ageing Group.
This framework will align our work to deliver age-friendly homes with work across the age-friendly strategy, for example on employment and older workers, financial security, digital inclusion, ageing well, longevity and innovation and importantly, ‘Ageing in Place’. This alignment ensures that the outcomes of each programme are greater than the sum of their parts; a system wide approach that supports residents to age well by improving the relationship between local services, amenities, the built and natural environment and community connections.
Achieving this vision needs our work to be aligned with, supported by, and contributing to the priorities for Greater Manchester as a whole. Creating Age-Friendly Homes in Greater Manchester is delivered in the context of the Greater Manchester Strategy and related priorities to:
- Provide safe, healthy and accessible homes for all, as set out in Places for Everyone and the Greater Manchester Housing Strategy and supporting the climate change agenda to deliver net zero new build housing and the low carbon retrofit of existing homes.
- Tackle inequalities across the city region, as set out in the findings and recommendations of the Independent Inequalities Commission , The Next Level: Good Lives for All in Greater Manchester.
- Integrate services around people, places and their needs, focusing on prevention, developing new models of support, and sharing information across the public sector in line with the Greater Manchester Model of Public Services.
- Address health inequalities and improving population health as Greater Manchester continues to integrate health and care services across the city region and takes action to build back fairer, as set out in the Marmot Review commissioned by the GM Health and Social Care Partnership.
- Support the voice, active engagement and participation of older residents, including through co-production.
- Make Greater Manchester a 100% digitally-enabled city region and equip all over 75s with the skills, connectivity and technology to get online.
These ambitions and this framework were developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Older residents have been especially impacted by the pandemic, for example many older people have spent more time in non-decent homes and continue to do so as restrictions ease; experiences exacerbated by health and economic inequalities that COVID-19 has laid bare. As we continue to move through the pandemic it will be important that we continue to understand what we have learnt about our homes, that we are able to respond to new circumstances as they arise and use the evidence to inform our responses and opportunities for taking action to create improved outcomes.