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£9.5 million to design new solutions for the UK’s ageing population

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Release date:
12 5 2016

Three landmark projects using innovation and design to enable older people to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives, and challenge traditional notions of ageing have received £9,579,740 from the Big Lottery Fund.

The schemes will put older people at the heart of creating new solutions to meet their needs and ambitions. This could be new services or technologies that enable communities to work together to reduce loneliness and isolation, or help people independently access support and information to improve their physical health.

The number of people aged 65 or over is projected to rise by more than 40 per cent in the next 17 years to over 16 million, and by 2040 nearly one in four people in the UK will be aged 65 or over.*

The projects aim to help create a society where older people are more valued and can play a more active role in the decisions that affect their lives, as well as developing a new, more positive narrative about ageing.

Nesta has received £5.48 million to support eight innovations to mobilise people and communities across the UK to address the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population. This includes local user-led groups to support people affected by strokes or respiratory conditions, an app to allow off-duty medical professionals to respond to life threatening medical emergencies and a scheme to recruit volunteers to get fit while reducing isolation for older people in their neighbourhood.

The Age of No Retirement has received £449,740 for a social innovation project bringing together different groups – business, government, the media and the general public – to help create a world where age does not matter. It will use user-led design and approaches to generate insights, implement new ideas and share positive stories about how everyone can aspire to a more fulfilled and purposeful older age. This will be supported by an online crowdsourcing platform launching on 19 May, as well as networks and events, to enable people to share ideas and develop these into practical solutions.

Design Council has received £3.65 million for a programme taking a pioneering design-led approach to improving people’s experience of life as they age. Working alongside UnLtd, the South West Academic Health Science Network and the Centre for Ageing Better, it will bring together people in later life, social innovators and commissioners of health and care services to define, develop and deliver new solutions that better support the needs and aspirations of their communities. Initially based in the South West of England, the programme represents a new model for people-centred innovation that could transform responses to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing nation across the UK.

Big Lottery Fund Chief Executive Dawn Austwick said: “These projects challenge existing notions of how we support older people. By involving them in designing new services and technologies, we are putting them in the driving seat and enabling them to reap the most benefit. This gives people a greater stake in their lives and communities, and delivers more personalised and sustainable approaches to health and social care.”

Halima Khan, Executive Director, Health Lab, Nesta said: "We’re delighted to be working with the Big Lottery Fund to develop and grow eight innovations that enable people to age better. This enables both organisations to leverage new ideas, networks, skills and resources, and also ensures that the likes of GoodSAM, North London Cares and Shared Lives Plus, and the remaining others, continue their journey to reach and benefit many more people across the UK. We’re looking forward to supporting this great group of innovations to make a significant impact over the next five years. This is an exciting time for the Health Lab at Nesta.”

Georgina Lee, co-founder of The Age of No Retirement said: “It's time for new inspirational thinking and action about age. The Age of No Retirement is a new innovation social enterprise. We are creating an environment - of live events, online innovation platforms, positive storytelling, design frameworks - where we can all innovate and act together, as citizens, as workers and as consumers. Our vision is to change the narrative of ageing from decline to growth, to create new intergenerational stories, discover new age-positive innovations, and build a society we all aspire to live in, for all ages.”

John Mathers, Design Council Chief Executive, said: “We are extremely pleased to have been awarded this funding for a truly ground-breaking programme that has been more than two years in the making. We need to create a system for supporting people as they age that is more personalised, more connected and more preventative. It’s a challenge of wider cooperation between individuals, their families and friends, social innovators, the voluntary and community sector and health and care leaders. The programme will show that by embracing collaboration, innovation and social action, we can design a better response to what matters to people as they prepare for and experience later life.”

These projects have been supported through the Big Lottery Fund’s UK portfolio, using a new, more conversational approach to funding that looks to support complex and challenging social issues.

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Notes to Editors:

  • The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. We put people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.
  • We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year we invest over £650 million and award around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
  • Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.
  • *Source: Age UK - Later Life in the United Kingdom, May 2016.
  • On 19 May The Age of No Retirement launches the world’s first intergenerational innovation crowdsourcing platform. Here people can share innovative solutions, work with others to refine ideas and create real intergenerational change as consumers, citizens and workers. Join now at www.ageofnoretirement.org. For more information please contact Georgina Lee, Co Founder, 07802 536793. @agenoretirement
  • Design Council is an enterprising charity which improves people’s lives through the use of design. Its work places design at the heart of stimulating business growth, helps to transform public services and enhances places and cities to ensure a sustainable future for everyone. It advances new design thinking, encourage debate and inform national policy. Its vision is to create a better world by design. For further details, please contact Chris Finnegan, 020 7420 5240 or chris.finnegan@designcouncil.org.uk, or Alicia Grimes, 020 7420 5213, alicia.grimes@designcouncil.org.uk www.designcouncil.org.uk, @designcouncil
  • Nesta is the UK's innovation foundation. It helps people and organisations bring great ideas to life. It does this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills. It is an independent charity and its work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery. For further details, please contact Kasia Murphy, 020 7438 2610 or kasia.murphy@nesta.org.uk
    www.nesta.org.uk / @nesta_uk

The eight innovations being supported by Nesta are as follows:

Project Description
Integrated Breathe Easy (British Lung Foundation) The British Lung Foundation is transforming its Integrated Breathe Easy Groups, providing peer support, information, innovative engagement activities and self-care that boosts lung health for people living with respiratory conditions, their families and carers, the majority of whom are older people.
First Call – Support at Home (British Red Cross) First Call – Support at Home supports vulnerable people, 95% of whom are over the age of 50, to help them recover from a crisis, increase confidence and remain independent at home for longer.
National Volunteering Programme (Carers UK) Carers UK’s national volunteering programme enables people with experience of caring to provide valued support to help others better manage their caring role; an increasing number of whom are older.
GoodGym GoodGym channels the energy that people spend on exercising and turns it into positive social action by supporting older more isolated members of the community.
Good SAM The GoodSAM (Good Samaritan) app is an early stage social venture that alerts off-duty medical professionals and those trained in basic life support to life threatening emergencies such as cardiac arrests in their vicinity.
Growing the Cares family (North London Cares and South London Cares) North London Cares and South London Cares are community networks of young professionals and older neighbours hanging out and helping one another in rapidly changing urban environments. Their work helps people to combat loneliness and isolation through a combination of social and practical connections.
Scaling Shared Lives for older people (Shared Lives Plus) In Shared Lives, a trained and approved Shared Lives carer shares their home and family life with an adult who needs care or support to help them live well. Through Accelerating Ideas, Shared Lives Plus will be supporting the further development of the sector in Scotland and Northern Ireland, alongside government-funded expansion in Wales.
Hand in Hand (Stroke Association) Three quarters of stroke happen to people aged 65 and over. Stroke groups are self-funded community groups, run and supported by people affected by stroke; they provide essential long-term peer support to stroke survivors and carers in the local community.