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 Programmebegan 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 Peopleprogramme 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.
This guest blog was contributed by Matthew John Hargreaves an architecture student at Manchester Metropolitan University.
In 2010, the Valuing Older People team at Manchester City Council was successful in their bid for Manchester to become an Age-Friendly City. Since then they have worked in collaboration with local partners, including architecture students, to develop an understanding of what ‘Age-Friendly’ actually means in relation to the urban context of Manchester. As part of this, VOP have been active in the Manchester Ward of Chorlton to help represent the views of older people in the area, contributing towards the development of the regeneration Action Plan that has been outlined from 2010 to 2020.
With my work, and in line with the philosophy of my unit (called msa-p) at the Manchester School of Architecture, I wanted to develop an architectural project that was as accessible as possible. Accessible not only in terms of the physical design and features of the urban landscape, but accessible in terms of the design process and techniques used to arrive at my final proposals. Inspired by the work carried out by VOP and driven my desire to represent those who are often excluded by architectural design processes and building developments, i.e. older and younger people, I developed architectural proposals in line with the
Chorlton District Centre Regeneration Action Plan as a form of representation, to highlight the needs of these often overlooked or ignored age groups.
My final proposals and architectural ideas therefore can be seen as an interpretation of the Age-Friendly city concept specific to Manchester, and hope to highlight some of the issues faced by younger and older residents in Chorlton with relation to the regeneration of their community. Continue reading “Guest blog: Chorlton for All Ages”