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Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing

Natalie Cotterell

Title: Growing old in the city: developing policies and practices to tackle social isolation amongst people aged 50 years and older

PhD summary

Natalie is an ESRC CASE PhD student looking at ways of tackling social isolation in older adults (aged 50 and older).This interdisciplinary PhD will advanceknowledge and help to develop policy recommendations to reduce social isolation among older people living in urban environments. This project will involve the training of older people as co-researchers to identify examples of good practice to assist neighbourhood organisations in addressing the impact of social isolation amongst older people. The following research questions will be addressed:

(i) What is the impact of social isolation on the lives of older people living in areas with high levels of social deprivation?

(ii) What are the benefits and limitations of neighbourhood-based projects designed to tackle social isolation?

(iii) In what kind of ways can older people themselves be involved in the co-production of policy and practice responses aimed at tackling social isolation?

(iv) What are the benefits of such work for local authorities, NGOs and private sector service providers concerned with addressing social isolation in old age?


September 2017 – September 2020


ESRC and Case Partners, Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO) and Manchester City Council.


I completed a BSc (hons) in Psychology and International Study at the University of Manchester in 2014 with a year spent studying at Complutense University of Madrid. I then worked as a project officer for a third sector organisation which specialised in understanding the needs, experiences and concerns of people who use health and social care services with this information being used to improve services. I returned to the University of Manchester in 2016 and gained an MSc in Health Psychology before beginning my PhD in September 2017.


  • Dr Kingsley Purdam
  • Dr Tine Buffel
  • Professor Chris Phillipson

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