Three innovative small companies have each been awarded government contracts worth £100,000 to develop new services that aim to help older adults live independently for longer through adopting better approaches to food and nutrition.
The awards follow the companies’ success in the ‘Independence Matters – Home and Away’ competition for development contracts, a joint programme between the Technology Strategy Board (www.innovateuk.org) and the Design Council (www.designcouncil.org.uk). The contracts, awarded through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), will enable the three companies to work with designers to develop human-centred service solutions that help to ensure the independence of adults in older age, and which are ready to be scaled-up and rolled out to the commercial market.
The companies awarded the funding are:
FutureGov (London): Casserole is a modern twist on the meals on wheels service which will connect food enthusiasts in the community to cook an extra plate or two of home-made food for people in their area who would benefit from it. Casserole aims to connect communities one good shared meal at a time."
Sidekick Ventures (London): League of Meals is a tool to digitise older adults' home recipes, share them with a private network, and enable them and others to organise social meal events to enjoy home-cooking.
VISION Culture CIC (Worcester): Improving Nutrition in Older People will test and develop a service that will improve the knowledge and skills of older people in order to maintain their long-term well-being in a less clinical manner.
Commenting on the contract awards, Jackie Marshall-Cyrus, the Technology Strategy Board’s Lead Specialist for Assisted Living, said: “Much of the current service provision around nutrition encourages older adults to rely on others.
Rather than seeking to maintain their own skills and independence, it takes away the opportunity they have to continue to do what they can for themselves, or to address their changing nutritional needs and tastes. These three exciting service development projects will offer a way to reverse this, through providing good nutrition and good nutritional advice, enabling older adults to continue to interact with food in the way they wish to, and enhance social interaction.”
Mat Hunter, Design Council’s Chief Design Officer added: “These next-generation services will help us maintain our quality of life as we age. All three teams show how understanding real, human needs inspires better solutions and we believe that this design-led approach will encourage the wider economy to embrace this emerging business opportunity. We look forward to seeing these compelling concepts brought to life and to market.”
The ‘Independence Matters – Home and Away’ funding competition was launched in February 2011 and followed extensive research by the Design Council to identify key areas in which innovations could make the most difference in helping older people to live independently. Nutrition and independent living are strongly linked and the ability to continue to prepare and eat food into older age as you always have done is a fundamental part of maintaining your sense of identity, quality of life and independence. Access to good nutrition not only ensures healthy living (warding off both obesity and malnutrition) but also, as eating is an inherently social activity, it helps to maintain emotional and mental well-being.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led government body which works to create economic growth by ensuring that the UK is a global leader in innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit: Technology Strategy Board website.
2. The Design Council places design at the heart of growth and renewal in Britain and shows how design can help build a stronger economy and improve everyday life. For further information about the work of the Design Council please visit:www.designcouncil.org.uk .
3. The programme is being run through the Technology Strategy Board’s Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP), which is responding to the challenge of the demographic shift – in essence promoting independence by making technology better, cheaper and more desirable. The ALIP aims to significantly advance the technology to meet the demand for independent living from the expected increase in the numbers of people suffering from long term conditions and age-related disability. By 2021 half of the UK’s adult population will be over 50 and by 2025 almost 1.5 million people will be living with an age-related disability. For further information about ALIP please visit: ALIP
4. SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) is co-ordinated by the Technology Strategy Board. The initiative is designed to encourage government departments and other agencies to ensure that they invest in innovative companies and that the departments are procuring innovative solutions to some of the challenges that they face. The aim of SBRI is to use the power of government procurement to drive technology development, especially in early-stage companies, supporting projects through the stages of prototyping and demonstration, which are typically hard to fund. SBRI offers an excellent opportunity for businesses to develop and demonstrate technology, supported by a customer, and to reach the first rung on the government procurement ladder. For further information about SBRI please visit: SBRI
5. For background information about this competition please visit: Home and Away
6. For further information about each of the projects please contact the companies direct:
FutureGov: Dominic Campbell, 07968 946360, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sidekick Ventures: Nick Marsh, 07915 066560, email@example.com
VISION Culture CIC: Adrian Jevans, 07889411277, firstname.lastname@example.org
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