This blog was contributed by Sue Cooley from Manchester City Council, the winner of the Age UK award category of the LGiU Councillor Achievement Awards. This award recognises the achievements of a councillor who has championed the interests of older people in their community.
I have been a councillor since 1996 representing Brooklands ward in the city of Manchester. My role as lead member for Valuing Older People (VOP) and more recently the Age Friendly Manchester Programme began in the last years of the 1990s. At that time I worked closely with the then deputy leader of the council to develop an approach which said that the role of local authorities shouldn’t begin and end with its social care responsibilities, recognising that the vast majority of older residents -however we define them, do not get a social care services. Moreover, especially in a city like Manchester, many older people faced exclusion from a range of everyday services and activities.
This approach found an echo in the Better Government for Older People programme championed by the Labour Government in the late 1990s. When ground breaking research into ageing in cities (including Manchester) was published in 2002 it coincided with the council’s new project called Valuing Older People which was launched officially in 2003.
Since then VOP has grown from a modest project based in the Manchester Joint Health Unit to a wide ranging programme acknowledged as being innovative but at the same time rooted in Manchester communities. Continue reading “Guest blog – LGiU C’llr awards winner!”