A lottery-funded development programme is offering up to £8,000 to help end social isolation in elderly communities.

Ambition for Ageing (AfA) presented funding opportunities and their previous research findings at its second-ever public meeting last Thursday at the Manchester Art Gallery to Manchester authorities and elderly groups.

Centre for Ageing Better’s AfA programme is offering five £2,000 research projects to Equalities Board members and up to 10 £8,000 projects to small organisations and partnerships.

People who are 50-years-old and over living in an AfA Manchester borough, including Salford, can become an Equalities Board member.

“Actively seek out members of the community who face multiple barriers.” – Sharon Summers, Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations (GMVCO) speaker.

Equalities research coordinator and event organiser, Hannah Berry, said: “These projects give a chance to get more findings back from local communities and it spreads research expertise as well through the community.

“Research funding is often a chance to do things that you wanted to do anyway and have something to show for it.”

Sarah Wilkinson presenting key facts from previous research.

AfA identifies social isolation and loneliness separately, with loneliness describing the feeling people have that “they’re not connected with people” rather than actually being disconnected.

Equalities member Jean Friend said: “Where I live, the bus service is quite poor so transport links are poor so you’re not going to get out.

“It’s just that isolation of not speaking to someone for days.”

AfA suggested that potential applicants focus their research proposals towards targeting under-represented older adults in Greater Manchester communities.

According to AfA’s previous research, Salford’s Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) population stands at 9.9%.

GMCA speaker Jessica Thorley says: “People who take part in evaluation tends to be white women who are more over-represented.

“There’s probably a lot of things that are missing as well from other groups, and we need to make sure that research is capturing their views.”

GMVCO speaker Sharon Summers advised organisations to be “as creative and as imaginative” in submitting research ideas, and that they would be as “supportive as possible” in helping research ideas.

Full application details and deadlines can be found here.


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