Earlier this year, Greater Manchester was named the UK’s first age-friendly city-region according to the World Health Organization. As a result, Mayor Andy Burnham launched GM’s age-friendly strategy to help make life across our city-region even better for our elderly population.

Here at the Growth Company, we’re proud of the difference our Digital 1000 initiative will make to the lives of older residents across the ten local authorities of Greater Manchester. One of the headline statements set out by the Mayor is to ‘create opportunities to maximise skills and experience of older workers’ – and Digital 1000 will help us to do just that.

According to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the number of over-50s in employment is at a record high - accounting for around a third of the national workforce. Therefore, it’s even more important than ever to upskill the ageing population to ensure that they have the same career prospects as younger generations.

Working with our local authority partners, we’ll engage with older workers across Greater Manchester to boost their digital skills and give them the best possible chance to excel and progress in their role.

But it’s not just about getting older people digitally clued up from a work perspective – Digital 1000 will also help them to feel more socially included. According to stats from Age UK, 3.9 million older people in the UK live alone, with 1.9 of those often feeling ignored or invisible.

Being more digitally savvy will open older people up to new ways of keeping in touch with friends and family: whether it’s mastering the art of social media, learning how to email or getting to grips with video calls. The better connected people are to their loved ones, the less socially isolated they will feel – which will have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.

Improving lives is what we do on a daily basis, and Digital 1000 is just one of the ways in which we’re making a difference to Greater Manchester’s ageing population.