New project aims to make Leeds a better city to grow old in

Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
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INNOVATIVE new ways to tackle social and health inequalities faced by older people across Leeds will be piloted after a new five year partnership was founded to make the city better for ageing residents.

It is estimated that by 2021 the number of people in Leeds aged 50 and over will increase by nearly 25,000 - a rise of 8 per cent since 2011. The number of people aged 80 and above will rise even faster - by 10 per cent, or more than 8,000.

The new partnership between Leeds City Council, Leeds Older People’s Forum (LOPF) and charity the Centre for Ageing Better will build on Leeds’s existing commitment to being an ‘age-friendly city’ and ‘the best city to grow old’ in.

It will work closely with older people across the city to pilot new ways to respond to the big issues faced by ageing residents, and share what is learnt across the region and even nationally.

LOPF chief executive Rachel Cooper said the partnership would “create a better later life for people across Leeds” and ensure the voices of older people is at the forefront of thinking.

Leeds Council’s executive member of health, wellbeing and adults, Coun Rebecca Charlwood, said: “Leeds city has a long track record in supporting a better later life for its residents, something this partnership will build on as part of our ambition to make Leeds the best city to grow old in. Older people currently provide informal volunteer services to their community saving millions of pounds each year. That figure is predicted to grow as our older population increases and this partnership can help harness the goodwill, ambition and community strengths we have to make lives better for the older people of Leeds.”

The Centre for Ageing Better’s Natalie Turner said what is learnt in Leeds would directly benefit residents and will also be shared to help other areas create communities “where everybody can enjoy a good later life”.

The project will start by looking at three main areas:

Transport - exploring way to improve and increase community transport;

Community action - working to boost volunteering and community activity among over 50s as a way to boost well-being and improve neighbourhoods;

Housing - looking at ways to support people to live independently, ensuring the option of extra support is there, and ensuring the voice of older people is heard when new building projects.