The role of faith-based organisations in developing age-friendly communities

A policy innovation partnership between public agencies and faith-based organisations in Greater Manchester.

Faith-based spaces are important community assets. They are a critical form of social infrastructure and often already provide important services to older people. Yet they have limited formal engagement with the age-friendly cities agenda. By working closely with Age-Friendly Manchester through a secondment scheme, this project explores the overlap of healthy ageing and faith in the context of age-friendly cities.

It investigates how older people are using and shaping faith spaces; how they enact cultural heritage in these spaces; and how intersecting aspects such as ethnicity, gender, social class, inform their participation.

In order to ensure older people have a say regarding the age-friendly city model for Greater Manchester, researchers will use co-production approaches as part of a conversation with policy makers, interfaith leaders, and members of faith communities.

Research Questions

This research will explore the following questions:

  1. How different groups of older people are using, shaping, and participating in faith-based spaces?
  2. How does this vary according to ethnicity, gender, social class, health needs, congregation etc?
  3. What kind of services and forms of community support do faith-based spaces/organisations already provide for older people?
  4. How could the role of faith-based spaces as a vital form of social infrastructure be extended / broadened /intensified / supported to promote health and wellbeing of older people ageing in place?
  5. What are the current links between the age-friendly agenda and the work of faith-based spaces/organisations? How could these links be strengthened to benefit both worlds?
  6. What new approaches and interventions can we identify and co-produce to support people to age well in place? (By bringing together different partners, including AFM, faith-based sector, inter-faith networks and different groups of older people)
  7. What can we learn from doing this type of collaborative research, and from involving older people as co-researchers in the research?

Principle Investigator

Research team


Partner Organisations

Secondment partner:

Age-Friendly Manchester (Manchester City Council)

The project also involves the following partners:

Contact Information

Dr Luciana Lang