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Nesta backs digital platform projects


Foundation provides over £150,000 for six local and regional initiatives aimed at solutions for social issues

Innovation foundation Nesta has provided more than £150,000 worth of backing for six digital platform projects in the second round of funding under its ShareLab programme.

It has made the money available to community groups, councils and other bodies in an effort to provide solutions for various social issues.

Nesta said the projects are aimed at developing digital platforms that could be used to address social needs, such as helping people who are less well off or face fundamental life challenges.

The six projects are:

  • Sunderland City Council’s Community Re-use Network is to receive £25,750 to encourage people to find new owners for usable furniture and household items. Its online platform will enable collection by local ‘re-use centres’ and should reduce fly tipping and the quantity of waste going to landfill.
  • Patient Transport Oxfordshire, with £30,000 to create a working prototype that can bring together patients and carers, healthcare providers and transport operators. It is aimed at reducing the time GPs spend visiting patients, cutting the amount spent by the NHS on private taxis, and reducing delays in discharging patients from hospital.
  • Fairbnb (£25,000), a pilot for which has been conducted in the London Borough of Croydon. It brings homeless families together with supportive home owners.
  • Equal Care Co-op (£30,000), a collaborative platform to bring together care givers and receivers, allowing people eligible for local authority funded support to select their own care workers and have control over their own care planning. Nesta is working on the project with US based platform co-operative Loconomics.
  • Sussex Prisoner’s Families (£17,500) development of a digital platform for the families of prisoners to provide support for each other. A prototype has been developed with Brighton University and the team has working relationships with HM Prison Lewis, criminal justice services and support agencies in the area.
  • HomePointr (£29,500), an online platform to connect referral agencies with housing providers in Scotland. Based in Falkirk, it will list vacancies and save the agencies time and resources. A pilot has already been launched and the new funding will help to recruit a part-time business development officer and software developer.

The ShareLab Fund was set up in November 2016 and the first cohort of eight projects to receive support announced in May of last year.

The initiatives are aimed at sharing goods, services, knowledge and skills to which some people already have access. Nesta has previously likened the effort to the development of digital business platforms such as Uber and Airbnb but based on dealing with social and environmental needs.

Image from Nesta, CC 4.0



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