UKRI backs new tech project for healthy ageing challenge

June 11, 2021

The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced funding for another project, as part of its Healthy ageing challenge.

Tribe is just one of five projects sharing £23m in funding from the UKRI healthy ageing challenge. Funded projects, run by organisations as diverse as big and small businesses, social enterprises and charities, are designed to ensure that we can all live healthier, more useful and more connected lives as we age and to help narrow the gap between the experiences of the richest and poorest individuals.

The Healthy ageing challenge launched in September 2019, to create new jobs, stimulate local economies and boost UK’s expertise in extending quality of life in older age.

Tribe uses technology to address national care inequality at the local level has secured funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Tribe includes a digital platform that can both map and predict care ‘dark patches’ where home care provision is failing. It will also recruit and upskill people in areas of low economic activity and high public service demand so they can create micro businesses to provide care.

Richard Howells, Founder of The Tribe Project, said, 'We’re delighted to have been chosen as one of the Trailblazer programmes for the UKRI healthy ageing challenge. It is a reflection of the great work we have been doing collaboratively with our partners for the past three years. The award of UKRI Research and Innovation funding provides us the foundation to accelerate the growth of Tribe Nationally over the next three years and beyond, working directly with people that have cause to draw on care and their communities, increasing social action, and improving the quality of life for millions of people.'

In addition to Tribe, the trailblazer projects include:

  • A collaboration led by Active Lancashire and the University of Central Lancashire focused on workplace health, enabling people to live healthier working lives. The project will provide people working in gyms and leisure centres with the skills to conduct important health screenings.
  • A project to help the estimated 1.6 million older homeowners who live in homes that are in a very poor state of repair. The project will combine innovative funding and a ‘hand-holding’ service to help create warm, safe and energy efficient homes. This can include space for live-in care or split homes in two, allowing them to rent out part of it, while tackling structural integrity, safety, better care, loneliness and social isolation.
  • A project that builds on the existing commitment from energy companies to tackle fuel poverty to also address wider physical, social and wellbeing needs that we all face as we age.  A trusted professional visiting a home to advise on energy use and efficiency measures could advise on novel home adaptations such as a new safer bathroom or kitchen,  and even signpost beneficiaries to other important health and social care services.
  • A Scottish project, based in three neighbourhoods, built upon engagement and involvement with the community. It combines age-friendly homes, with technology and products that enable people to live independently, stay connected and have choice and control in how services are delivered. It will help people to stay well and physically active as they age, as well as exploring new financial products to support them.

Healthy Ageing Challenge Director, George MacGinnis, said,  'The scale and range of these projects is impressive. Between them they are tackling issues as diverse as whether the built environment works for us as we age, long-term workplace health, financial products for older people and gaps in care. We have specifically funded projects which are innovative and scaleable, to help deliver our ambition to ensure that we all have to opportunity to live healthier, more connected and more productive lives as we age.'

Visit the UKRI website for further insights on latest funding projects and news.

According to Digital Social Care, the Government has announced its new Help to Grow programme, due to launch later this year. The programme has been designed to help small and medium-sized businesses develop digitally.

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