Testbed sites receive funds to co-produce tech services

Care setting at Bield Housing & Care

Six care and housing providers have been awarded £440,000 to co-produce tech services with older residents.

Bield Housing & Care, Haringey Council, Platform Housing Group, Pobl Group, Southend Care and Wiltshire Council will each receive between £65,000 and £75,000 to be used to involve older residents in shaping digital services.

The money is part of the TAPPI (technology for our ageing population: panel for innovation) project, which aims to improve the way technology is used in housing and care for older people.

Led by the Housing Learning and Improvement Network, the TEC Services Association and funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust, phase 2 of the project will co-produce tech tools with people who have lived experience over a 12 to 15-month period.

Each organisation will test devices, apps and systems across housing settings. Residents will be given responsibility, alongside staff, to make decisions about which digital support services to develop.

TAPPI has appointed Co-production Works, a consultancy that supports organisations to work in co-production with people who use services. The Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research – part of the University of Cambridge – has been appointed to evaluate the project.

‘This has huge potential to shift thinking on how housing can be integral to new models of delivery in the integration agenda,’ said Dr Lynne Douglas, Bield Housing & Care chief executive. ‘Most importantly, it will be delivered together with older people to improve the outcomes that matter to them.’

Southend Care will be working with its technology partner Amba, Southend City Council and tenants to test the impact of deploying technology augmented care in people’s homes. Stephen Unsworth, Southend Care director of operations, said: ‘This important work will determine how people’s independence can be maintained or enhanced and, in turn, support Southend Care’s progress in becoming a technology-enabled company.’

Professor Roy Sandbach, TAPPI chair and former director of the National Innovation Centre for Ageing at Newcastle University, added: ‘Those chosen will provide insights from a range of settings and, most importantly, will put users at the heart of this work. We’ll use the TAPPI principles and a co-production approach to develop digital services that address real-life problems of older people. I’m very excited to work with our six new testbed sites.’