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Social entrepreneurs challenged to Transform Ageing in the south-west

Innovators urged to come forward with ideas to improve the lives of people in later life by helping people to remain independent, develop and maintain social connections, have improved information, confidence and resilience to deal with life transitions and better support for carers.

The experience of ageing in the south-west is set to be transformed with the announcement of six innovation briefs for ambitious social entrepreneurs to apply their creative expertise in Somerset, Devon, Torbay and Cornwall. The innovation briefs are part of Transform Ageing, a first of its kind initiative to change the way we approach and design services for people in later life.

Transform Ageing is funded by Big Lottery Fund, the largest community funder in the UK, and is designed to improve people’s experience of ageing. It brings together people in later life, social entrepreneurs, and health & social care leaders to define, develop and deliver new solutions that better support the needs and aspirations of our ageing communities.

Each innovation brief was developed in collaboration with local people to capture their perspectives, experiences and insights into what will make a difference in
their communities. The briefs are designed to encourage social entrepreneurs from the south-west and around the UK to launch new services or products in the region, to directly meet the needs and desires of local people. Successful individuals or organisations will receive a unique package of funding from UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs. This will promote their ability to create social impact, become investment ready and increase sustainability.

The unveiling of the Innovations Briefs will see the programme building on the ideas, energy, talent and resources of people and communities – creating transformative change and delivering real social and economic value.

The six Innovation Briefs cover:

•• Steps to a positive future – empowering people in later life to take their first steps in any activity or engagement in the community. This challenge aims to re-engage people with former interests and develop increased physical and emotional wellbeing, recognising skills, knowledge and experience.

•• Mobility and Transport – removing the barriers which prevent good mobility and negatively impact upon daily living and wellbeing. This challenge looks to help people remain independent, allow them to make spontaneous decisions and develop social connections through the journeys they make

•• Life transitions – supporting people to better prepare for and go through life changes as smoothly as possible. Improving people’s networks and connections to support them with changes in their life is the goal of this challenge. The challenge aims to give people in later life impro

•• Caring about carers – preventing stress, anxiety, isolation and fatigue before it has a negative impact on carers’ quality of life. This challenge looks to offer improved support to carers and help develop access to mutual support and peer learning, ensuring carers have an increased sense of identity and self-worth.

•• Right information, right time – making information which matters most to someone available when it is needed. Social ventures here should look to support people with the right information and make it accessible and relevant, allowing those in later life to readily make informed decisions, access services or support and participate in community activities

•• Making connections – making it possible for people in later life to connect with people, community and activities to lead a healthier, happier and more active later life. This challenge addresses loneliness and is designed to ensure people in later life can play a more active role in their community, developing more opportunities for social interactions in their day-to-day lives

The full innovation briefs and more details can be found here:

The Design Council and UnLtd are working together in this unique collaboration with the South West Academic Health Science Network and the Centre for Ageing Better on both the briefs and the wider programme. Delivery of the programme is supported locally by four organisations: Community Council for Somerset, Devon Communities Together, Torbay Community Development Trust, and Volunteer Cornwall to ensure the challenges meet very specific local needs.

Mark Norbury, UnLtd CEO, said: “Our work on these Transform Ageing Innovation Briefs has never been more urgent. At UnLtd we are increasingly seeing the importance of solutions being devised and led by the people who have experience of them. That’s why these co-designed innovation briefs will help inspire social entrepreneurs to respond with truly fresh ideas and transformative innovation to solve one of society’s most profound challenges. These innovation briefs directly speak to challenges faced by people in later life and carers in the south-west, we’re excited to learn how social entrepreneurs will tackle these issues.”

He explained: “Building new partnerships is the key to making the Transform Ageing programme a success. We want to build on the themes here by developing new partnerships with the NHS, local authorities, communities and social entrepreneurs to put people at the centre of how we rethink support for those in later life.”

Clare Devine, Design Council Executive Director, said: “The Transform Ageing programme is taking place while the UK is undergoing a dramatic demographic shift with far reaching consequences that will touch every part of our lives across society, the economy and health and social care provision.

By 2024, there will be 18 million people aged 60 and over in the UK – that’s more than one in four UK citizens. Responding to the needs of people in later life is one of society’s most crucial and growing issues. Increasingly, we need bold and sustainable innovations, designed and led by people who have lived through the issues they are seeking to address.

Edel Harris





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