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Ground-breaking partnership launched to help people aged 50 and over in Greater Manchester

22/03/2016

Ground-breaking partnership launched to help people aged 50 and over in Greater Manchester

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has today (Friday 18 March) announced a five-year partnership with the Centre for Ageing Better to find innovative approaches to improve the lives of people of Greater Manchester aged 50 and over.

The City of Manchester is recognised internationally for its work as an age-friendly city. Today the combined leadership of Greater Manchester commits to expanding these benefits to a further 2.2 million people living in the wider city-region.

The Greater Manchester Ageing Hub will apply evidence captured by Ageing Better about what works in helping ensure a good later life to drive improvements across Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester has been chosen by Ageing Better as their first locality partner because of the devolved powers it holds as a city-region and the commitment to supporting ageing well in its drive to transform health and social care. Greater Manchester and Ageing Better will together share the learning and success from this partnership with other localities and with national governments in UK and abroad.

Tony Lloyd, Interim Mayor for Greater Manchester said: "I want Greater Manchester to be the UK’s most age-friendly city-region.

“Greater Manchester has an ambitious target to boost employment rates amongst older people. This can help grow our economy and improve the lives of older people in our city-region.

“But I want to go further and look at how we can use the powers we now have in Greater Manchester to improve even more aspects of older people’s lives. That’s why I’m delighted Greater Manchester is to be the Centre for Ageing Better’s first locality partner.

“By working together as part of Greater Manchester Ageing Hub we will be able to make better decisions locally that improve the lives of older people right across Greater Manchester.”

GMCA and Ageing Better share an ambitious goal to help many more people aged 50 and over get into and stay in work.

Employment rates for people living in the North West of England are significantly below the English average. In Greater Manchester, almost one in three of the region’s 50-64 year olds are not working.

It is estimated that boosting the number of people in work aged 50 years and over in the region to the average for all ages in GM could boost the region’s economy by as much as £901.6m (Gross Value Added).

Ageing Better and GMCA will start by developing and testing a new approach to supporting people aged 50 years and over re-enter the labour market. Being out of work in one’s 50s has been linked to increased risks of poor health, financial insecurity and social isolation in later life.

GMCA and Ageing Better will also work together to ensure that current and future housing meets the needs of an ageing population.

Lord Peter Smith, lead on health and social care for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said: “We know that in Greater Manchester we have an increasingly ageing population. Although this is a challenge to address some of the issues facing older people in Greater Manchester, it is also an opportunity to use their experience, wisdom and talents for the benefit of everyone.

“By tackling issues around work, social isolation, and living conditions, as well as wider attitudes and perceptions of getting older, we can have a significant impact not only physical health, but mental wellbeing too.”

Anna Dixon, Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Greater Manchester is in an ideal position to use its devolved powers to respond positively to its ageing population. This is a unique opportunity to demonstrate how a large scale and evidence-based approach to creating an age-friendly region can transform experiences of later life.

“Too many people currently miss out on a good later life. This not only affects individuals, but also communities and the wider economy. By working in partnership with localities we will develop and test new ways of supporting individuals, and unlock the potential within their communities.

“This is the first of our locality partners. Over the next few months we will be talking to leaders in other areas to identify places that share our ambition, our commitment to evidence and can deliver at scale.”

Lord Geoffrey Filkin, Chair of the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Greater Manchester to work to improve later lives in the region. Manchester is already highly respected for its early work on age-friendly places. However the ambition and leadership of the new combined authority has greatly impressed us and we are keen to work with them to show how devolved powers over health and welfare combined with strong leadership have the potential to transform lives and places to make for better later lives.

“Our partnership with Greater Manchester will support nearly three million people living in the area. As we share what we learn together about what works, we will secure changes across the country so that more people in more places enjoy a good later life.”