Events in age-friendly Manchester

A series of ageing-focussed events in Manchester in July 2018

Manchester was the first city in the UK to join the Global Network of Age-friendly Cities of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2010. According to the Manchester’s Strategy for Ageing 2010-2020, the aim is to make Manchester into a great place to grow older. Over the years, Manchester has established itself as a leading city in developing strategic policies to create age-friendly cities both at a national and international level.

In July 2018, there was a series of ageing-focussed events in Manchester. The Eurocities Action Group of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA) met on the 2nd and 3rd July. More than 50 participants from policy makers and academics from around Europe gathered to discuss and share age-friendly principles, practices and integration.

The 47th Annual Conference of British Society of Gerontology (BSG) was held at the University of Manchester from 4th to 6th July with the theme “Ageing in an Unequal World: Shaping Environments for the 21st Century”. This covered a wide range of topics, such as social exclusion in old age, inequalities in later life and environmental gerontology. The conference was jointly hosted by the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford. Nearly 600 delegates from 27 countries attended this conference.

In parallel to the two conferences, the annual Age-Friendly Manchester Festival, funded by the local government, a community trust and a national charity, took place across Greater Manchester between 2nd and 15th July and attracted 8,000 participants. Over 350 events were held in a variety of forms, ranging from public lectures, book groups, social meet-ups, fitness sessions, digital workshops, local history discussions to dancing sessions, art groups, knitting groups, tai chi exercises and music nights.

The age-friendly policies and practices in Manchester are exemplary. What is particularly inspiring is the apparently seamless integration of research, policy and practice in action. The level of friendly collaboration amongst researchers, academics, local government, community organisations and associations and citizens is impressive. Of course, this didn’t occur overnight and there is a long backstory for another article. In view of ageing populations around the world, there is a lot to be learnt from age-friendly Manchester.

[Source: Dr Hing-Wah Chau, Academic Fellow, Melbourne School of Design, The University of Melbourne. Trip funded by the Dyason Fellowship]