Testbed locations announced for Homes for Healthy Ageing trials

Connected Places Catapult is pleased to announce Sunderland City Council and a Northern Ireland consortium as the first two location partners in its Homes for Healthy Ageing Programme.

The two-year £2.5 million programme was launched at the end of last year in response to the Government’s to ensure people live longer in their homes while narrowing the gap between the experiences of the richest and poorest.

With the over-65 demographic set to rise to one quarter of the UK population by 2050, the Homes for Healthy Ageing programme has a vital role to play in informing and accelerating innovation that supports a healthier future for all.

Connected Places Catapult will launch five testbeds over two phases that will enable location partners and UK innovators to trial and develop the most promising solutions to address national challenges in Healthy Ageing locally in community-centred, real-world scenarios. The learnings and outcomes will then form the basis of a business case for future funding opportunities and support.

In May, Connected Places Catapult announced a call for expressions of interest from a range of potential location partners including local authorities, NHS trusts, housing associations, academic institutions, care organisations, and non-profits. Connected Places Catapult then reached out to respondents interested in being 2021 testbed location partners and worked with them to co-design their ideas and support their proposals.

Applications were then submitted for review. Successful location partners were selected based on the strength of their proposed approaches to the key challenges, and CPC took into account factors such as lab size and representative tester samples.

Sunderland City Council and the Northern Ireland consortium* will each receive £50,000 funding, which will help support a dedicated task force responsible for ensuring the effective rollout of their local testbeds. As well as gaining access to the tools, user insights and know-how needed to create an impactful testbed, they’ll be able to draw on the Catapult’s network of key changemakers who’ll help guide their healthy ageing strategies and drive real change for their communities.

The next stage of the programme will see Connected Places Catapult launch its Open Call at the end of the Summer, for SMEs and innovators to propose potential solutions that will help location partners explore challenges around key healthy ageing themes.

The Northern Ireland consortium will comprise:

  • Ulster University
  • Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC)
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • Age NI
  • Belfast City Council
  • Public Health Agency NI
  • The Health Innovation Research Alliance (HIRANI)
  • Market Development Association (MDA)

Quote from Connected Places Catapult

“Needless to say, selecting our first two location partners for the Homes for Healthy Ageing programme was not easy. Every applicant made a strong case for exploring specific challenges within their local community and through their applications they’ve already provided the programme with important insights. The UK is waking up to the very immediate need not only for innovative thinking, but for a clear roadmap around home- and place-based solutions that build a healthier future for all. After a long research stage that has helped us build a fuller picture of the current challenges to healthy ageing across the UK, I’m really excited to see what real-world insights we can gather from our first two testbeds.”

Natalie Record, Housing Innovation Lead, Connected Places Catapult

Quote from Sunderland City Council

“We are proud to have been chosen to be part of this opportunity, against very worthy competition. Our focus is on making Sunderland a city where every person can live well, and independently for as long as possible, with support that empowers them to lead a fulfilled life, and we are determined to achieve this through our work with Homes for Healthy Ageing and partners on this exciting programme. The Homes for Healthy Ageing Programme and Sunderland City Council have a shared belief that technology has the power to transform lives and that’s why we’re delighted to be chosen as a city to host the programme and together explore new ways we can improve health outcomes for residents in their own homes.

“Sunderland was named Smart City 2020, in recognition of our work to innovate and to maximise the power of technology to support and enable our communities to realise their potential, and this is another step forward in using digital to enhance the lives of our residents.”

Councillor Kevin Johnston, dynamic city cabinet member, Sunderland City Council

Quote from Northern Ireland Consortium rep

“The Northern Ireland consortium are delighted to be working alongside the Catapult on the delivery of its ‘Homes for Healthy Ageing’ testbed programme in Northern Ireland. Led by Ulster University, this Northern Ireland consortium includes several organisations, including the Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC), Public Health Agency (PHA), Belfast City Council, Age NI, the Health Innovation Research Alliance Northern Ireland (HIRANI), the Market Development Association (MDA) and Queens University Belfast (QUB).

The strength and depth of this delivery consortium will be of great benefit to the active community of businesses addressing the needs of healthy ageing through their products and services. As the first of its kind in Northern Ireland the consortium sees the testbed as a great opportunity to cement Northern Ireland as a centre for innovation and research, addressing key societal challenges”.

Professor Joan Condell, Ulster University, Lead Partner of the Northern Ireland consortium