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Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing

Dr Tine Buffel wins a Social Responsibility Making a Difference Award

22 May 2015

Dr Tine Buffel, School of Social Sciences and MICRA, was the winner of the University of Manchester “Outstanding Local Community Collaboration” award for her project, Manchester Ageing Study.

In this project, Tine works together with older residents, community organisations and Manchester City Council to produce research and identify actions and strategies to improve the ‘age-friendliness’ of local neighbourhoods. An important feature is the active involvement of older people, who were trained as ‘co-researchers’, in all stages of the project.

The project focuses upon both researching and working with older people living in areas of high deprivation with a view to improving their experience of living in the city. It builds on policy priorities in the context of the Council being an active member of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Network of “Age-Friendly Cities” (2007:12), these defined as encouraging ‘active ageing in order to enhance quality of life as people age’. The project builds on a key principle developed by the WHO: the idea of prioritizing the role of older people in developing research and action plans to improve the ‘age-friendliness’ of their neighbourhood.

Through collaborative work with community organizations across three neighbourhoods in South Manchester, 18 older residents from different ethnic groups were trained to become ‘co-researchers’ in the project. They have played a key role in all stages of the research, including the planning, design and implementation phases. Training sessions focused on designing interview questions, data collection and sharing/translating findings. The co-researchers conducted 68 interviews with ‘difficult-to-reach’ older people about their needs to age well in the community. They also worked together with local community organisations to develop actions and strategies for social change on the basis of the research findings. In addition, 14 focus groups were held with community stakeholders to collaboratively identify opportunities for improving the age-friendliness of the different neighbourhoods.

In the next couple of Weeks we will see the release of a production film featuring the co-researchers that highlights the impact of research on ageing, urban environments and inequalities. Also, as the project nears completion Tine, with the help of her co-researchers, will release a booklet focussing on the process of involving older people in the research process.

For more information about the awards please follow the link below:

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