Innovative teams receive funding to develop ideas for helping older adults stay socially connected

Innovative teams receive funding to develop ideas for helping older adults stay socially connected

16 Dec 2011

Today sees the announcement of the winners of a national innovation challenge to develop services to help older adults stay socially connected.  The Technology Strategy Board and the Design Council have awarded each of the winning teams from the Keeping Connected Business Challenge a share of £450,000 to develop their ideas over the next five months.

The aim of the Keeping Connected Business challenge is to stimulate the development of business ideas that address the desire and need of older adults for maintaining and developing their social connections.  Teams of designers and enterprises were encouraged to enter their ideas that tapped into the commercial opportunity of a growing older consumer market and the social opportunity of developing services to promote social interaction and prevent isolation and loneliness. 

The winning teams are: 

- The Big League – Keeping men connected through sport
The idea: to create a championship activity leagues for men who are about to retire or have retired which allows them to connect through fitness and sporting activities. 
The team: Fitness Industry Association and thinkpublic

The Amazings – Creating a generation of micro-entrepreneurs
The idea: to create a movement of passionate and enabled older people who keep active and connected by trading their skills, knowledge and passion with their local community.
The team: Sidekick Studios, Age UK East London

- Gusto – Radically rethinking approaches to adult social care
The idea: to help older people reignite their passions and interests through a ‘self-help cooperative’ that provides mentoring and coaching.  
The team: Shropshire Council, People2People, Friday

- Room for Tea – Stimulating interactions between young and old
The idea: to connect interns looking for affordable accommodation with older people who have spare rooms through a moderated home sharing network.
The team: FutureGov and The Settlement

Those aged over 50 currently account for 44% of all household spending and this figure is set to grow over the next twenty years.  1 in 10 older adults say they feel ‘severely’ or ‘always’ lonely and an estimated third of older adults live alone. This need in a growing market offers service providers an unprecedented business opportunity.

Jackie Marshall-Cyrus, of the Technology Strategy Board, said “I am very excited about the positive outlook for older adults that lies at the heart of each of the winning team’s ideas.  These are all really innovative service propositions and I look forward to watching the teams’ progress as their ideas are developed and turned into reality over the next five months.”

Mat Hunter, Chief Design Officer of the Design Council said: "The winning projects all show that integrating design, technology and business is a powerful means for developing new and creative approaches to help older adults keep connected.   These are imaginative ideas from great collaborations of partners who have demonstrated a deep understanding of what it means to be connected."

The challenge is part of the Independence Matters programme run by the Technology Strategy Board and the Design Council, which aims to stimulate business innovation to meet the needs of an ageing population and challenge stereotypes and perceptions about later life.

For full press release, including notes to editors, please follow this link.

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Last updated on Wednesday 29 February 2012 at 15:34

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