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what we do

What is the Ambition for Ageing Programme?

Ambition for Ageing (AfA) is a £10.2 million programme aimed at creating more age-friendly places in our city region and empowering people across Greater Manchester to live fulfilling lives as they age.


Led by Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations (GMCVO), AfA launched in 2015 and is due to complete in 2022. AfA is funded by the National Lottery Fund’s national Ageing Better initiative; a seven-year, £78 million investment to improve the lives of people aged over 50 by addressing social isolation and loneliness within local communities.


To access learning collected locally from within the 14 partnerships that a part of Ageing Better, visit their website.


Our fundamental belief is that the introduction of a series of small changes across Greater Manchester will gradually influence behaviours, beliefs and policies, and that these will ultimately result in a long term, large scale reduction in social isolation in older people across our city region.


The programme in numbers


  • Over 21,000 older people were involved in local projects


  • We funded over 40 organisations across Greater Manchester to deliver age-friendly projects


  • We co-designed and co-delivered 1,385 local community projects across the region


  • We designed and funded 10 'scaled' programmes in line with views and recommendations with older people






Our current work (2020 - 2022)


Up until the end of March 2022, we will be continuing to share our learning and produce further learning in relation to communities and ageing, as well as evidence linked to wider community development approaches. We will also be microfunding some activity across the ten local areas of Greater Manchester.


Our two workstreams (2015 - 2020)


By providing small investments to help develop more age-friendly neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester, we sought to make communities feel more connected and for there to be more opportunities and activities on offer for older people in the places they live. We did this by focused on two particular methods of operation during our initial phase of delivery between 2015 - 2020;


Local projects


Our Local Delivery Leads (LDLs) delivered the programme across the following twenty-five wards in eight GM boroughs:


  • Bolton: Crompton, Halliwell & Tonge with the Haulgh
  • Bury: Moorside, Radcliffe North & St Mary’s
  • Manchester: Burnage, Hulme & Moss Side, Moston & Miles Platting
  • Oldham: Alexandra, Crompton & Failsworth West
  • Rochdale: Central Rochdale, Firgrove & Smallbridge & West Middleton
  • Salford: Broughton, Langworthy & Weaste & Seedley
  • Tameside: Ashton Waterloo, Denton South & Hyde Newton
  • Wigan Borough: Atherton, Leigh West & Pemberton.


Although Stockport and Trafford did not meet the National Lottery Fund’s participation criteria, we seek to ensure that all the learning we generate is shared across these areas.


Our LDLs worked very closely with older people representing all our locations, encouraging them to research assets and challenges locally so they could use the information to develop new plans and proposals. 


Scaled programmes


Alongside the LDL project work above, we funded and managed a series of scaled programmes:



These particular areas of focus were selected in line with views and recommendations that we heard during the course of a number of conversations with older people from across Greater Manchester as part of a public consultation undertaken in the early stages of our work.




Useful definitions
  • Older people: commonly understood to refer to people over 65, but given the recognition that - owing to inequalities - people experience age related challenges at very different points in their lives, Ambition for Ageing uses this term to refer to people aged 50 and above.
  • Age-friendly: this can mean different things to different people but, within the Ambition for Ageing programme, it describes people of all ages being respected and able to actively contribute to decisions about the places in which they live.  It does not just refer to age-friendly neighbourhoods but to creating age-friendly businesses and workplaces which are, again, shaped by people’s knowledge and experience.
  • Social isolation: not the same as loneliness, this is being cut off from normal social networks - possibly by loss of mobility, unemployment, or health issues - resulting in no access to services or community involvement, and little or no communication with friends, family, and acquaintances.

‘An age-friendly world enables people of all ages to actively participate in community activities and treats everyone with respect, regardless of their age. It is a place that makes it easy for older people to stay connected to people.  And it helps people stay healthy and active even at the oldest ages and provides appropriate support to those who can no longer look after themselves.’  THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION