August 16, 2023

New Greater Manchester partnership with Independent Age to create training to support older people in financial hardship

By Jo Garsden, Programme Manager at Greater Manchester Ageing Hub

National advice charity Independent Age has initiated a new partnership with Greater Manchester to improve the lives of older residents in financial hardship.

Organisations are invited to be involved in development and piloting of new training offers from Independent Age around older people and financial hardship. The charity plans to share the learning gained here in Greater Manchester at a national level, with the aim of further roll out across the country.

The offer of an initial one year grant agreement follows significant support from Independent Age for the 2022/23 Greater Manchester Pension Top Up and Winterwise campaigns facilitated by the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub and partners, aimed at increasing take up of later life benefits and entitlements.

In 2022, more than 500 frontline workers in Greater Manchester (including housing providers, councils, VCFSE sector, NHS, fire, police) signed up for a free one hour online introductory training session on Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance delivered by Independent Age. From the end of August, a further 15 training dates will be released, with the offer being extended to selected local authorities beyond Greater Manchester.

Independent Age are exploring new training options for the wider workforce based on feedback from Greater Manchester partners supporting older people, including:

  • Online training sessions via Teams on: what happens to your benefits when you reach State Pension Age; general benefits training including what’s available and how to best answer questions on application forms; how to support older people in debt (focus on signposting); how to reduce costs including support from utilities providers, energy advice, social tariffs, TV licence, benefits maximisation
  • E-learning version of Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance online training (exploring whether this can be uploaded to council and NHS learning platforms)
  • Crib sheet to support someone applying for Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance
  • Peer ambassador training for older people around financial hardship
  • Videos around how to fill in an Attendance Allowance form and what to do if your application is turned down.

An estimated 36,000 eligible households in Greater Manchester are not claiming Pension Credit – that’s a third of those who are eligible. The average value to households is estimated at £34 per week, which equates to £70m per year across the region. Many older residents are also missing out on Attendance Allowance and Housing Benefit.

It will be my role to lead this work, with key areas of focus being:

  • Scoping what advice is currently available for older people and identifying opportunities for joint working
  • Building capacity of Greater Manchester organisations supporting older people around financial hardship
  • Developing and delivering ‘test and learn’ training offers to those supporting older people
  • Evaluating the Greater Manchester Winterwise campaign 2022/23.

The work is being supported by a new financial hardship and older people steering group which includes representatives from Greater Manchester Older People’s Network, Resolve Poverty, the University of Manchester and the DWP. The group meets monthly on a Tuesday 9-10 am.

To find out more about the work around financial hardship and older people, or to get involved in developing the training or the steering group, please contact

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