Age Friendly Manchester Benches – Gorton and Abbey Hey10 new age friendly benches installed in the Gorton and Abbey Hey neighbourhood.
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This project follows on from two successful age friendly seating projects developed through the Whalley Range Age Friendly group and Southways Housing in Old Moat.
Moving around the community more easily with the help of regular stopping places can enable older people to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible. This can be both physically and mentally beneficial and contributes to the Aging Well strategy for the city.
Older people were part of designing where the benches should be located in their neighbourhoods.
Key partners also stepped in to support investing in additional benches to add to the walking routes we had already developed.
This project will also be followed by the installation of age friendly benches in Charlestown, Hulme, Moss Side and Wythenshawe.
Gorton and Abbey Hey (part of the Gorton and Levenshulme neighbourhood)
Benefits of Community based projects
Volunteering in community projects and performing acts of kindness can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing. There is a small amount of evidence to suggest that getting involved in environmental activities and projects may also have a positive impact on physical health. Community engagement can foster a greater sense of ownership and identification with the local area, which may lead to long-term sustainability. It can also combat social exclusion and empower individuals.
This project was a success, although it took longer to carry out than envisioned. Due to the lockdown, engagement about locations became quite challenging. Also, we learnt that the benches needed to be on flat ground which made planning walking routes in more hilly areas problematic.
One of the key successes from this piece of work is the way we involved partners and even encouraged funding (via Arcon Housing) to purchase and install additional benches around Gorton and Abbey Hey.
The legacy of this project is that now the benches have been installed, they are physical assets which will remain within the neighbourhoods and be used by residents on a daily basis. buzz have branding on the benches which gives the organisation a visible presence within the neighbourhoods. Also, partners want to use these benches as part of community event planning in the future so that they are celebrated regularly.
Led by buzz Manchester Health & Wellbeing Service’s Age Friendly Team.
Developed with Manchester City Council’s Neighbourhoods Team, Age Friendly Team and Planning/Highways Team.
Supported by Arcon Housing, Local Councillors, Policing Teams, frontline workers across statutory, voluntary and community sectors, and active residents from each neighbourhood.
Strategic links to local/national policies
Increased mental wellbeing
More engaged in community
Community ownership and long-term sustainability
Empowerment of individuals
Increased physical activity and physical health
Curry et al (2018) Happy to help? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of performing acts of kindness on the well-being of the actor. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 76, pp. 320-329
Husk et al; Cochrane Systematic Review (2016) Participation in environmental enhancement and conservation activities for health and well‐being in adults: a review of quantitative and qualitative evidence
Pillemer et al (2010) Environmental Volunteering and Health Outcomes over a 20-Year Period, The Gerontologist, 50 (5), pp. 594-602
Public Health England (2015) A guide to community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing
Yasmin Holgeth – Age Friendly Neighbourhood Health Worker
Mob. 07425 536823
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"Working in partnership with buzz has greatly enhanced the positive impact we have on our community".
Rob Willis, Centre Partnership & Development Manager, Fallowfield Library & Community Resource Centre (The Place at Platt Lane)