Design Council is leading a new initiative to help improve the experience of ageing funded by the Big Lottery Fund and initially based in the south-west of England. Design Council will work alongside UnLtd, the South West Academic Health Science Network and the Centre for Ageing Better. 

Transform Ageing is a new, cross-sector initiative that will bring together people in later life, social entrepreneurs and health and social care leaders to define, develop and deliver innovative new solutions that better support the needs and aspirations of people in later life in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset.

This programme has the potential to deliver new, scalable and sustainable solutions that meet the needs and aspirations of our ageing communities across the UK.

Each partner brings unique expertise and experience of supporting community-led responses to ageing challenges. The Transform Ageing partnership is:

  • Design Council is a charity and is recognised as a leading authority on the use of strategic design. We use design as a strategic tool to tackle major societal challenges, drive economic growth and innovation, and improve the quality of the built environment. We take a people-centred approach to address challenges drawing upon all aspects of design including product, service, user experience and design in the built environment. We are a UK government adviser on design.
  • UnLtd is the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK and offers the largest such network in the world. UnLtd resources hundreds of individuals each year directly through its core awards programme and hundreds more through a network of community-based partners.
  • The South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN) is one of fifteen networks established by NHS England to accelerate the development and adoption of innovation across the health and social care system. The Network is a membership organisation with partners drawn from a range of collaborating organisations across the south-west.
  • The Centre for Ageing Better is an independent charitable foundation. It uses the results of major studies undertaken with people in later life, alongside existing research and the views of other organisations working in the field, to identify areas that are key to achieving a society in which everyone enjoys a good later life.

The programme, some three years in the making, has been welcomed by health and social care leaders as an important step in improving services for people in later life. 

​Rt Hon Prof. Paul Burstow, former Minister of State for Care, said: “I am excited to be involved in the Transform Ageing programme and the real difference it can make to people in their later lives. Transform Ageing offers a practical approach to making communities in the south-west more age-ready. Using design innovation that starts with the experience of people in their later lives and taps into the energy of social entrepreneurs and the insight of health and local government to devise practical solutions. Above all, this programme has the potential to deliver new, scalable and sustainable solutions that meet the needs and aspirations of our ageing communities across the UK.”

This new partnership will help to support and inspire social entrepreneurs who are addressing key issues older people experience.

Mark Norbury, UnLtd

By placing people in later life at the heart of the design process, the programme aims to actively engage their insight, increasing their influence and support to deliver solutions that better meet their needs. In turn, the programme will support commissioners to feel more confident in incorporating new services and interventions into mainstream care supply chains, and social entrepreneurs to scale their effective solutions more sustainably.

Clare Devine, Executive Director, Design Council, said: “Design Council is proud to have worked with partners to devise and develop this design-led, user-centred programme. Through first-class research, collaborative working and rigorous design, Transform Ageing will enable local communities to take charge of their care needs. The programme will actively engage their insight and support to identify health and social care challenges and will generate tangible, creative and lasting solutions to meet their needs in the south-west and beyond. Our vision is that by creating services better aligned to real-life needs and issues, everyone’s experience of ageing will be improved.”

Mark Norbury, CEO of UnLtd, said: “This new partnership will help to support and inspire social entrepreneurs who are addressing key issues older people experience. The partners bring expertise in the health and social care sector and a profound understanding of the communities they support. We’re excited at the prospect of working together to find leaders with dynamic solutions to redefine the experience of ageing.”

The programme will use collaborative design techniques to create a new generation of user-led health and social care solutions which tackle the real priority issues of people in later life. 

Jon Siddall, Director of Innovation, SW AHSN said: “We are really excited to be part of this pioneering programme and working with our partners to support community-led responses to the needs of our population in the south-west. We look forward to building partnerships with our NHS member organisations, local authorities, communities and social entrepreneurs to help put individuals at the centre of how we redesign support for people in later life.”

The programme aims to ensure that the best innovations reach people in later life as quickly as possible and positively transform their experience of ageing.

Anna Dixon, CEO, Centre for Ageing Better said: “We are very pleased to be working in partnership with Design Council, UnLtd and the South West Academic Health Science Network. Transform Ageing offers an exciting opportunity to redesign the experience of later life by working across sectors and boundaries, and taking a person-centred approach. We look forward to sharing innovative ideas, developing evidence on what works and spreading that knowledge more widely to help as many people as possible enjoy a good later life.”

If you would like to find out more and get involved, contact transformageing@designcouncil.org.uk

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