At the end of 2017 we set social entrepreneurs throughout the south-west the task of responding to a series of six briefs compiled by local communities looking for innovative product and service solutions, with the simple aim of improving the experience of later life for local people in Somerset, Torbay, Devon and Cornwall.

A number social entrepreneurs have successfully responded to the innovation challenge and through Transform Ageing will now receive funding and support to deliver lasting social impact in the region. We caught up with a selection of them to find out more about their individual and unique approaches to improving later life.

Click here to view the full list of awardees. 

Move it or Lose it

Founded by Julie Robinson, Move it or Lose it provides accesible fitness classes to those in later life – bringing people together, promoting community cohesion and improving physical & mental health. Founded in 2010, Move it or Lose it has already enjoyed success in the Birmingham area and will be bringing its unique, innovative approach to fitness in later life to the south west.

Move it or lose it

The Sewing Rooms

The Sewing Rooms improves health and wellbeing by employing people who face specific challenges around isolation or dementia. It does this through bespoke training workshops and a manufacturing department that makes soft furnishings, accessories and bespoke upholstery for private and corporate clients.

Book of You

Founded in Wales by Tom and Kathy Barham, Book of You uses the proven benefits of reminiscence to create a digital life storybook, using words, pictures, music and film to tap into a person's store of long-term memories. It means people can bring family, friends and carers together to show who a person was – and who they are now. It was originally set-up to help people living with dementia, but the team now work with a wide range of people, including those living in assisted accommodation and young adults with learning difficulties.

NEDCare

This innovative social care company provides personalised community-based care and support in people’s homes. NEDcare brokers carers from the local community, providing trustworthy and friendly carers who help people remain as independent as possible in their own homes.

VRTU

This exciting technology uses virtual reality to improve mental wellness. VRTU is designed for people in later life –  especially people with dementia – and uses a VR app to allow people to revisit old memories, as well as creating new ones.

Clare Devine, Design Council Executive Director, said: "It is fantastic to see these ventures responding to the insights generated by local people. This really is about design led innovation from the grass roots of the community. People in later life, social entrepreneurs and public sector staff have worked collaboratively to understand in depth what would make a difference to day to day lives. Now we have an exciting range of ideas responding to what local people want and need."

Transform Ageing is a pioneering programme taking a community and design led approach to improve people’s experience of ageing. It brings together people in later life, their friends, family and carers, social entrepreneurs and public sector leaders to define, develop and deliver new solutions that better support the needs and aspirations of our ageing communities.

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