Southway Housing Trust plans to bring ‘Age-friendly’ housing to communities in Greater Manchester – in order to tackle social isolation and make the city more enjoyable for its older residents.
The £10million project will be based in Moston, Burnage, Hulme and Moss Side to develop projects designed with and led by local older people.
Research done by Age UK in 2014, found that two fifths of older people say the television is their main company*. The aim of the project is to build ‘Age Friendly Neighbourhood Partnerships’ and give local older people the opportunity to come up with their own projects, to reduce social isolation and promote active ageing.
The Age Friendly Neighbourhood Project works with the Centre for Spatial Inclusion Design-Research, and combines architecture and social science research techniques, to create social housing that helps to develop a thriving community. It is also being supported by Manchester City Council and the World Health Organisation, for its principles and commitment to active and healthy ageing communities.
The project will be funded by the Big Lottery, and the communities will be given 40 per cent of the budget in order to have direct ownership of the projects.
In addition, the council was awarded Devolution status last year. This means that they have the authority over the city’s £6bn health and social care budget. The council’s published plan says, “The focus must be on people and place, not organisations”.
Westbrook Close is the current development completed in Old Moat, south Manchester. It links older people in the community to support including coffee mornings, exercise classes and digital training.
The accommodation was formerly connected by narrow walk ways making it extremely difficult for visitors, deliveries and even emergency services to gain access. The passageways were being used for anti-social behaviour, allowing people to hide from view and making tenants feel unsafe to leave their homes after dark.