Mayor's Age-Friendly Challenge

Mayor's Age-Friendly Challenge

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has issued an Age-Friendly Challenge to help make Greater Manchester the best place in the UK to grow older.

Greater Manchester is already the UK’s first age-friendly city-region according to the World Health Organization. Great news! But what does that look like in reality?

Through the Mayor’s age-friendly challenge, we’ll find practical examples of what age-friendly really means and share best practice across the city region.

Guidance for applications

We want to hear about those practical schemes and projects already in place in Greater Manchester, which are helping to make your community and neighbourhood more age-friendly.

Your scheme doesn’t need to be perfect and finalised – but you do need to be able to demonstrate that you are:

  • actively working to make your neighbourhood age-friendly
  • involving older people in the development of your scheme
  • committed to future age-friendly goals

The challenge is open to the voluntary and community sector, public services, businesses, and older people's groups working together to make their community and neighbourhood more age-friendly.

Successful entries will be those places that have most improved the quality of life of older people in their communities, and which provide shining examples of age-friendly practice for others to learn from.

This award is for age-friendly communities and neighbourhoods, and as such, we would encourage individual projects to work with partners to apply on behalf of their neighbourhood. If you do apply as a single project, we will work with you to identify other age-friendly projects in your area to achieve the age-friendly community status.

What you’ll get out of it

Successful schemes will be awarded with accreditation – official recognition from the Mayor and Combined Authority that your community or neighbourhood is age-friendly. The award will stand until 2020 and categories are as follows:

  • Age-Friendly 2020: Achievement Award with Merit – an age-friendly place
  • Age-Friendly 2020: Achievement Award – a place that is making excellent progress towards becoming age-friendly.

Accredited schemes will be promoted by Ambition for Ageing as examples of best practice, including to external funders.

You’ll also be given support to:

  • Improve – could it be made better?
  • Grow – could it be made bigger?
  • Share – could others learn from what you’re doing?


Applications should be submitted by midnight 1st December 2018.

Accredited schemes will be announced at the Greater Manchester Age-Friendly Conference in February 2019.

Find out more and apply

Take a look at the information you will need to hand and the online application form to get a feel for the process and learn more about what we’re looking for.

We can provide application forms in alternative formats, and support you with the application process to help make the most of your potential – just get in touch with Ambition for Ageing using their contact details below.

All applications will be reviewed by an expert panel including representatives from the Greater Manchester Older People’s Network, Ambition for Ageing, Greater Manchester Ageing Hub, the Centre for Ageing Better, and the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA) at The University of Manchester.


If you have any questions about the challenge, need support with your application, or want to email across a Word version of the application form, contact Ambition for Ageing:

Help getting started 

The ideas behind this challenge have been influenced by the research of Ambition for Ageing, conversations with experts in the field of ageing, and feedback we’ve received from Greater Manchester Older People’s Network.

Older people have told us that an age-friendly neighbourhood or community is a place that:

  • Builds a feeling of community integration and belonging
  • Makes meeting and participation opportunities available
  • Develops things for people to do, reasons to connect and to try new things, and a way to discover new interests and skills or re-engage pre-existing ones
  • Helps people to feel independent through facilities and transport
  • Supports community resources and spaces for people to go to
  • Helps people feel safe
  • Provides information about what is going on
Case study

Need some inspiration? Take a look at what's happening at Old Moat.

Old Moat is a ward and housing estate in Withington. The lead partner on the Old Moat work is Southway Housing.

In order to create an age-friendly neighbourhood, a series of projects and changes were made to the neighbourhood. Benches were added to help older people access shops and other district centre amenities, which were sometimes combined with age-friendly noticeboards. Old Moat was the first ward in Greater Manchester to introduce the ‘Take A seat’ campaign, which raises awareness amongst shops and traders on the needs of older customers. Road signage was changed in certain areas of Old Moat to make them more legible for older residents and to improve navigation for people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. 

Changes to Westbrook Close in Old Moat, South Manchester, was designed as part of a project to address isolation amongst older people. Southway engaged with local environmental groups to design adapted and accessible gardens to encourage older residents back into their gardens, providing raised beds and food growing support. A sensory garden was also introduced.

To counter the lack of designated community space, Southway are supporting older people to create a peer support network in Old Moat. A small IT Hub has been created, which can loan tablets to isolated older people and is supported by the Peer Support Network. Following involvement in a research project alongside a visual anthropologist, residents have set up their own creative writing group.

Future work planned for Old Moat includes a project to use locally-shot film footage to form the basis for a visit to an older person who has become socially isolated and a pop-up museum to stimulate discussion and encourage understanding of the balance in communities between people and the natural world.

Help us spread the word!

There are hundreds of great schemes taking place across Greater Manchester, but we don’t know about them all! Help us reach those people really making a positive difference to the lives of older people and encourage them to take part in the challenge, working together or along with their local authority ageing leads. Download our communications resource pack and spread the word!

A bit more about us…

The Mayor’s Age-Friendly Challenge is being led by Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Ageing Hub, and delivered by Ambition for Ageing.

The Greater Manchester Ageing Hub sits within Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and works to improve the lives of older people in Greater Manchester. Our vision is that older residents are able to contribute to and benefit from sustained prosperity and enjoy a good quality of life. Working with our partners we have set up the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub to coordinate a strategic response to the opportunities and challenges of an ageing population.

Ambition for Ageing is a £10.2 million Greater Manchester level programme aimed at creating more age-friendly places and empowering people to live fulfilling lives as they age. It is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Ageing Better programme, which aims to reduce social isolation of older people.

We’re not working on this challenge alone! This challenge has been influenced by feedback we’ve received from Greater Manchester Older People’s Network – a group of active and vocal older people who want to see Greater Manchester become the best place in the UK to grow older. We are also working closely with Local Authority ageing leads, experts in place reform and a number of other important figures in ageing.