Leader's column: 'Building an age-friendly Tameside'

In her latest Reporter column, Tameside Council's Executive Leader, Cllr Brenda Warrington, discusses making the borough one of the best places to grow old and be old.

Greater Manchester is getting older. 

By 2041, it is estimated that over seven hundred thousand people in GM – just under a quarter of the population – will be over the age of 65. 

If you’re 65 today, your chances of celebrating your 85th birthday and beyond are pretty good.

Over the past four years, we have made it our priority to make Greater Manchester the best place in the UK to grow old and be old.

Working closely with regional organisations such as the GM Ageing Hub and the Centre for Aging Better we’ve focused on the practical changes that need to be made at a local level to improve the lives of older people.

One of these changes, and the one that I think has made the most difference to the  lives of older people in Greater Manchester, is the creation of our Age-Friendly Neighbourhoods. 

These are local areas that have put in place changes that allow older people to live there as independently as possible for as long as possible. 

Instead of a top-down or “one size fits all” approach, local communities are encouraged to develop solutions tailor-made to their own areas and contexts.

In Tameside, Denton South, Mottram, Hyde Newton and Ashton Waterloo have already been recognised as Age-Friendly Communities.

But last week we also received the great news that they have now been joined by Denton North, Dane Bank, Droylsden and Dukinfield.

In Dukinfield, the Together Centre on Birch Lane runs animal-rescue therapy sessions for local residents with dementia and other needs. 

St. Malcolm’s Church in Droylsden has become a “Place of Welcome” where anybody can come in and experience a warm, friendly community space. 

The Denton Park Social Bowling Club in Victoria Park provides a space for older people to socialise and be active, and Dane Bank has expanded its cultural options with a community choir and cinema in Denton West End Community Library.

The great work done in our Age-Friendly Neighbourhoods, both in Tameside and elsewhere in Greater Manchester, shows that we are giving thought to what kind of places we want our parents to grow old in, that we want ourselves to grow old in, and that we want our children to grow old in. 

Sooner or later this is an issue that is going to affect us all. 

An Age-Friendly Greater Manchester is in all our interests. 

Let’s keep working to make it happen.

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