To help older people feel more confident about leaving their homes, housing providers across Greater Manchester are encouraging local businesses to sign up to the ‘Take a seat’ scheme in a bid to make our region more inclusive, accessible and age-friendly.
Inspired by a similar project in New York City, the scheme simply asks local businesses to make seats, toilets and a drink of water available to people who may need them. Businesses that sign up to the scheme are also given a checklist of ways to make their premises more age- and dementia-friendly. They are encouraged to display clear signs, store items within easy reach, and keep floors clutter-free. 
The idea has already been successfully implemented and delivered in south Manchester by Southway Housing and is now being rolled out across the region by Greater Manchester Housing Providers Group. 
‘Take a seat’ ties in with the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s ambitions to make Greater Manchester the UK’s first age-friendly city region, and is part of wider plans designed to make our shops and local town centres more accessible to all, benefiting both local people and local economies. 

We should be celebrating the fact that people are living longer and do all we can to help people live their lives to the full as they grow older. This scheme has the potential to make a huge difference to people’s lives; more people will feel able to leave their homes, socialise and interact with others, and lead a much better quality of life.   I’m determined for Greater Manchester to become the first age-friendly city region in the UK, and simple schemes like this are just the start. We need to change attitudes and do more to remedy those barriers that prevent older people from contributing to and playing an active role in their communities.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham
Initially delivered in Manchester by local housing provider, Southway Housing, ‘Take a seat’ is now being rolled out across the region by Greater Manchester Housing Providers Group, and 25 housing providers have already agreed to rollout the scheme in their local area. 
Karen Mitchell, CEO of Southway Housing, has long been an advocate of the scheme and played an instrumental role in getting the project rolled out across Greater Manchester.

Southway’s age-friendly work has changed many lives in south Manchester. As such it has been recognised as a leading model regarding the projects and ideas that have grown from our extensive work and research. We are really pleased to be extending our ideas and tools to more partners so we can help enhance the lives of even more people across the city and beyond.

Karen Mitchell, Chief Executive at Southway Housing
Find out more about the ‘Take a seat’ scheme and download the information pack here.

To find out more about the work of the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub, visit: or follow @GMAgeingHub on Twitter.