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Sunderland and Northern Ireland to provide testbeds for healthy ageing solutions

12/08/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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Sunderland City Council and a consortium of agencies in Northern Ireland have been chosen to run trials of digital solutions to support older people in their homes.

Old couple with laptop

They will provide the first two of five testbeds for new solutions under the Connected Places Catapult Homes for Healthy Ageing Programme.

It is aimed at ensuring people can live longer in their homes while narrowing the gap between the experiences of the richest and poorest.

Sunderland and the consortium have been chosen as the first location partners for the programme, and will each receive £50,000 to help support a task force responsible for the roll out of the local testbeds.

The consortium comprises Ulster University, the Connected Health Innovation Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, Age NI, Belfast City Council, Public Health Agency NI, the Health Innovation Research Alliance and the Market Development Association.

The next stage of the programme will involve the Connected Places Catapult – the UK’s innovation accelerator for cities, transport and places – launching an open call for SMEs and innovators to propose potential solutions. It also has plans for three more testbeds, for which it will be taking registrations of interest until the end of October.

Natalie Record, its housing innovation lead, said: “The UK is waking up to the very immediate need not only 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 helped us being 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 the first two testbeds.”

Image from iStock, wavebreakmedia

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