SENIOR personalities from housing, charity, and faith organisations gathered in Bradford for a summit on improving the provision for black and minority ethnic (BME) citizens in older age.
Hosted by Manningham Housing Association (MHA), the event was organised in response to a recent report published by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).
MCB estimated that the Muslim population aged 65 and over living in England, Scotland and Wales will rise from almost 110,000, according to the 2011 Census, to an estimated 451,438 in 2036 – a more than fourfold increase.
The summit – titled ‘Ageing Well in BME Communities’ – sought to increase awareness of the issue in the housing association sector and inform future MCB research.
Alongside MHA and MCB, the event attracted representation from Accord Housing Association, Anchor Hanover Group, Together Housing Group, Unity Homes and Enterprise, The Abbeyfield Society, Housing Learning Improvement Network, Chartered Institute of Housing, Race Equality Foundation, Housing Diversity Network, and BME National.
Khurshida Mirza from the Race Equality Foundation presented recent data sets that illustrated the disadvantage experienced by many ethnic minority groups, including housing deprivation, fuel poverty, poor health and limited life expectancy, and talked about the urgent need for targeted interventions.
Dr Shuja Shafi, Chair of MCB’s Research and Documentation Committee, said: “We welcome this opportunity to place Muslim elderly care on the housing providers’ agenda. A multidisciplinary approach is urgently needed, with practitioners from various sectors, including social and health care, responding to the challenges.
“The MCB brings to the table opportunities for collaboration with its affiliate network, as well as findings on requirements and expectations from the faith perspective.”
An action plan was drawn up with a follow-up meeting planned for early next year. It is intended that this gathering will include input from organisations unable to attend the Bradford summit.