Creating age-friendly homes in Greater Manchester
We look at the work Greater Manchester have been doing to create a shared vision and ambition to increase the supply of age-friendly homes.
Our Greater Manchester Partnership Manager Nicola Waterworth looks at how our partners in Greater Manchester are working to 'achieve a permanent cultural shift around housing in later life'.
At Ageing Better, we want people to have a more diverse range of housing options available to them as they get older and their needs change. This is an ambition we've shared with our strategic partner, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, since we began working together in 2016. Increasing the supply of homes for people in mid and later life is a key target of Greater Manchester’s age-friendly strategy.
In late 2021, at a launch event with Paul Dennett – Salford City Mayor and lead for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority on housing and homelessness – Greater Manchester published its 'Framework for Creating Age-friendly Homes'. The framework sets out what the partners want to achieve in Greater Manchester, based on the collective work of learning, researching and innovating that the Housing, Planning and Ageing Group have been leading since 2017.
The vision for the framework states: “The housing choices across Greater Manchester for people in mid and later life are diverse; established neighbourhoods respond to different needs and aspirations, promote social connections and support equality, positive health, wellbeing and independence.”
The framework draws on the work of Rightsizing, undertaken by Manchester School of Architecture and Centre for Ageing Better and the soon-to-be published Rightplace project that builds on this work. It was also influenced by our work with the Good Home Inquiry and the HoME Coalition. The framework also draws on the voice of older people from the Greater Manchester Older People’s Network, and examples of existing practice in Greater Manchester. Manchester School of Architecture and Pozzoni Architecture have published the accompanying Design for Life: urban practice for an age-friendly city demonstrating more examples from the city region and further afield.
The framework uses this evidence base to set out the five strategic priorities that will support the change needed to achieve the vision, and these are to be underpinned by an Age-friendly Housing Charter:
- Embedding ageing in all our housing strategy and delivery
- Resetting the conversation, ‘valuable not vulnerable’
- Making an impact on the ground
- Promoting ‘Improve or Move’
- Celebrating homes and neighbourhoods that enable older people to live well in later life
This work is embedded in the Greater Manchester Housing Strategy Implementation Plan, and a delivery plan is overseen by the Housing, Planning and Ageing Group. In March the framework was welcomed by elected members across the local authorities at the Greater Manchester Planning and Housing Commission.
Discussing the importance of the framework, Karen Mitchell, CEO at Southway Housing Trust and Chair of the Housing, Planning and Ageing Group said:
“What the framework has done is create a compelling vision for what we want to achieve in Greater Manchester, to create that cultural shift about how we think about housing and later life. Continual engagement with stakeholders on this vision and what needs to happen to deliver impact on the ground is critical. It was rewarding to hear from elected members across the Greater Manchester local authorities [at the Planning and Housing Commission] that they welcomed the framework, share the commitment and we heard about the work they are already doing to make an impact.
“There are no quick answers to the issues of housing for our ageing population and the hard work has only just started but it is important to be part of a collaborative approach across the system and working together to develop new solutions to get there.”
The elected members on the Planning and Housing Commission discussed a range of important considerations for the supply of age-friendly homes, including the links with transport, the redevelopment of town centres, different ways to understand needs and demand, the role of social care, the importance of home improvement services and the potential role of intergenerational living models. There was acknowledgement of the importance of moving the narrative on housing for older people to ‘valuable not vulnerable’.
The next steps for Greater Manchester include continuing the engagement with the local authorities, developers, housing providers and other stakeholders to deliver impact on the ground in the supply of age-friendly homes.
The Housing, Planning and Ageing group is convened by the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, with support from the Centre for Ageing Better, the membership is cross-sector. If you want to learn more about this work in Greater Manchester you can contact our Greater Manchester Partnership Manager at [email protected].