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02 Jul 2018

Mayor launches “age-friendly challenge” to coincide with Greater Manchester’s first Festival of Ageing

To coincide with today's launch of the Festival of Ageing in Albert Square, central Manchester, the Mayor is asking the voluntary and community sector, public services, and older people’s groups to submit their best age-friendly schemes and help deliver more age-friendly neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester.


Commenting on this latest mayoral challenge, he said:


“In March this year, Greater Manchester was recognised by the World Health Organization as the UK’s first age-friendly city region in response to the incredible work being done to make this a great place to grow older. This is a fantastic accolade but we need to take practical steps to make changes and I want people to think about what needs to happen to make sure we’re living not just longer but happier and healthier.


“In Greater Manchester we’re celebrating the fact that people are living longer. We’re pioneering a new positive vision of ageing, demonstrating the valuable contribution older people make to the city region and helping everyone live a fuller later life.”


The Mayoral Age-Friendly Communities Challenge calls for submissions of activity that are making our city region a better place to grow older. Phase one of the challenge focuses on communities and neighbourhoods – age-friendly places that are making a difference to older people’s everyday lives.


The voluntary and community sector, public services and older people’s groups are invited to put forward their best age-friendly schemes and be considered for age-friendly neighbourhood accreditation. Please see the instructions at the bottom of this page for how to register your interest at this stage.


Submissions will be reviewed by an expert panel chaired by Prof. Chris Phillipson from MICRA at The University of Manchester. Other panellists will include representatives from Greater Manchester Older People’s Network, Ambition for Ageing, and the Centre for Ageing Better. Successful applicants will also be offered support to further develop their plans by the Ambition for Ageing programme.


Chris Phillipson, Professor of Sociology and Social Gerontology at the University of Manchester, will chair the challenge’s judging panel.


Describing his reaction to the latest mayoral challenge, he said:


“This is an exciting initiative for Greater Manchester; age-friendly neighbourhoods are a crucial resource for improving the lives of older people in our city region.


“We know that for people aged 70 or older, 80% of their time is spent in the home and the surrounding neighbourhood. Research shows us that supportive places and communities are a major asset for improving older people’s quality of life. We need more collaborative approaches where older residents are involved in shaping their environment, and to promote a positive vision of ageing for us all as we grow older.”


To support the Mayor’s challenge, a portfolio of existing age-friendly good practice has been put together by the organisation, Ambition for Ageing, and the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub, to help showcase current successes and provide inspiration for new ideas. This will be made available shortly.


A second phase of the Mayor’s age-friendly challenge, expected 2019, will expand on the age-friendly communities challenge, inviting submissions on wider issues including employment, housing, and culture.


Greater Manchester’s Festival of Ageing launched with a host of activities to showcase the clubs, classes, and events available to help keep us active as we age. Across the two weeks, more than 300 events involving thousands of older people will take place across Greater Manchester until July 15. In the same period, Greater Manchester is also hosting some of the world’s leading researchers on ageing for the British Society of Gerontology Conference at the University of Manchester.


Ambition for Ageing has commissioned the festival as part of their £10.2m Big Lottery Funded programme set up by the Big Lottery Fund. It aims to create more age-friendly places and empower people to live fulfilling lives as they age.


For more about the festival and list of events near you, click here


To find out more about the Mayoral Age-Friendly Challenge, click here 



The Mayoral Age-Friendly Communities Challenge Criteria

Who can apply and timeline:

  • You will be a group or partnership working collaboratively to improve the lives of older people. Applications should include a combination of two or more of: voluntary and community sector, public services and older people’s groups
  • You will have instigated some programme of activity that makes your neighbourhood more age friendly, removing barriers to make places inclusive and accessible to all, and making a positive difference to older people’s lives
  • You will be carrying out activity within one or more of the ten Greater Manchester local council areas
  • Your scheme will involve older people in the design and/ or delivery process
  • Applications should be submitted by midnight 1 December 2018 (paper version available upon request)


Register your interest:

To take part, please register your interest by emailing us at or by calling 0161 277 1001

All you need to give us at this stage is a brief description of:

  • Who is involved. Please list any partner organisations
  • Where you are based. Local council plus neighbourhood/ locality e.g. Werneth in Oldham
  • What you are doing to make your place more age-friendly, and what difference it has made to older people

We will then follow up with you later in the year to arrange a more detailed discussion about your project and to help you through the formal application process.