Overview

Background: An ageing population

A vastly improved life expectancy – one of the great triumphs of the previous century – looks set to be one of the great challenges of this one. 

The UK is undergoing a demographic shift that will have far-reaching consequences for society, the economy and public service provision.

For the first time Britain’s over 65s outnumber people under the age of 16. By 2020, the Office for National Statistics predicts that people aged over 50 will make up almost one third (32%) of the workforce and nearly half (47%) the adult population, with 15.5 million people aged 65 and over. These demographic trends and the resulting impact on public finance are unprecedented.

The implications for an ageing society affect all of us, across generations and will touch every part of our lives, presenting challenges for individuals, families, communities, employers, service providers and government. Responding to the needs of people in later life is one of society’s most crucial and growing issues.

We need to think in a radically different way, using the lived experience of people in later life, collaboration and community engagement to better understand their needs and wants for an improved later life.

We are looking for innovations that help us, as we age – to stay active, happy, healthy and connected.

Who is involved in the programme and why?

The Transform Ageing programme, which is supported by £3.65m in National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund, is being delivered through a partnership to encourage new ways of thinking, working and new behaviours led by Design Council, alongside UnLtd – the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, the South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN) and the Centre for Ageing Better. Its delivery is also being supported locally on the ground in the south-west by Volunteer CornwallDevon Communities TogetherCommunity Council for Somerset and Torbay Community Development Trust.

What will the programme achieve?

Over the three years of the programme we will demonstrate that combining social entrepreneurship and community action with world class design practice can drive positive change, responding to the challenge of our ageing society.

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.

The programme will:

  • Enable people in later life and their support network to feel more able to contribute to how and what services are commissioned in their community.
  • Support social entrepreneurs to develop new ventures and scale or replicate existing ones that meet the needs of people in later life.
  • Develop local products and services that better meet the needs of people in later life and their support network.
  • Support social entrepreneurs to enable their enterprise to flourish.
  • Provide public sector leaders with clear intelligence on how to foster closer relationships with people in later life and their network and how to effectively commission social entrepreneurs.
  • Convene a national network of supporters to contribute to and learn from our work.

Why the south-west?

The programme is currently based in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset as this is an area of the country that has a higher proportion of people in later life than many other parts of the UK as well as challenges faced by very rural areas. We have also found a seedbed of people and organisations that were keen to make a difference and a set of unique skills within the South West Academic Health Science Network to help support social entrepreneurs to produce evidence of impact.

Will Transform Ageing happen elsewhere?

Once Transform Ageing has been successfully rolled out in the south-west we will aim to replicate it in other areas of the country.

What’s happened so far

In 2017, we have been working closely with communities in Cornwall, North Devon, Somerset and Torbay to understand what people need and want, what would improve their experience of ageing and what would make a difference to their day-to-day lives.

We initially carried out a review of national research about ageing and identified 28 challenges.  From this research local stakeholders, together with people in later life in Cornwall, North Devon, Somerset and Torbay each selected a handful of relevant challenges/topics to explore in their local community. These challenges ranged from preventing social isolation and loneliness, effective hospital discharge and preventing physical and mental ill health, through to staying active in the community and remaining physically active.

Recognising that those with first-hand experience provide unique insight, we brought together groups of people in later life, their friends, families and carers, social entrepreneurs and public-sector leaders in each of the four locations and worked with them collaboratively on their selected ageing challenge to:

  • remodel the challenge so it had relevance to their local community
  • plan and conduct design research in their community to understand the needs and wants of those harder to reach
  • evaluate the findings of this research and identify opportunities to be further explored
  • shape project briefs for social entrepreneurs to respond to.

This research and insight has led to the development of six innovation briefs:

  1. Steps to a positive future
  2. Mobility and transport
  3. Life transitions
  4. Caring about carers
  5. Right information, right time
  6. Making connections

We are seeking social entrepreneurs who can respond to these briefs and apply for award funding to help develop and implement their ideas in Cornwall, Devon (including Plymouth and Torbay) and Somerset.

To read the briefs in full please download the Call for Applications document.

How to apply?

The call for applications is now open.

We’re inviting you to redesign the experience of ageing for people in later life.

We are looking for social entrepreneurs with innovative product and service solutions to support healthy, happy and active later lives to respond to one of the following innovation briefs:

  1. Steps to a positive future
  2. Mobility and transport
  3. Life transitions
  4. Caring about carers
  5. Right information, right time
  6. Making connections

Who should apply?

Social entrepreneurs. This includes anyone who is motivated to make a difference and create social change in our society through entrepreneurial ideas and solutions.

Why you should apply

  • Transform Ageing presents an opportunity to make a difference not only to individuals, but to entire communities.
  • Awards of up to £25,000 to help you develop and grow your idea are available, from a total award pot of up to £822, 500.
  • Regular dedicated support, including access to experts in a range of fields including design, business, and finance, to help you develop and strengthen your idea.
  • Your social enterprise will be celebrated and showcased via national and local media.
  • Our collaborative approach will allow you to explore new markets, meet new people and organisations and help you develop as a social entrepreneur.
  • Guidance and support to identify further areas of investment of growth in your social enterprise.

The programme will then:

  • Drive the adoption of these ideas, supporting successful social entrepreneurs to engage with consumers and commissioners to improve services and drive adoption.
  • Develop a National Knowledge and Learning Network, allowing us to learn from others and share our journey.
  • Create a self-sustaining legacy in the local community and enable local people and organisations to pass on learning and experience to each other through a peer-to-peer support network.

If you feel you have an idea that responds to one of the six briefs you should download the Call for Applications document and then visit unltd.org.uk/transform-ageing to apply.

To find out more about the programme contact Charlotte Burrows, Programme Manager.

View the briefs

To view the briefs please download the Call for Applications document. 

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Apply to Transform Ageing

If you're a social entrepreneur with a solution to one of our six briefs, apply now!

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