Local success informs national project on ageing

An ambitious national programme to ‘improve people’s experience of ageing’ has just launched, informed by key lessons from projects including the Knee High Design Challenge in Lambeth and Southwark.

Design Council has launched Transform Ageing, a new cross-sector initiative to create innovative solutions for people in later life. The programme has received £3.65 million from the Big Lottery Fund and will start in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, with the ambition to roll out across the UK.

The programme will put people in later life at the very heart of the process, working with social entrepreneurs and health and social care leaders. It will use collaborative design techniques to create user-led solutions which tackle the issues that people in later life identify as priorities.

The Knee High Design Challenge, which was funded by us, was a three year collaboration between Design Council, Lambeth and Southwark Councils, ending in May this year. Building on the Design Council's 'design challenge' methodology, it supported 25 ideas to improve the health and wellbeing of local children under five. It sought entrepreneurs from within the local communities, investing time and effort in understanding the roots of the issues faced by children and their families before helping to pilot three final projects.  

Now, Transform Ageing is taking on some of the lessons from Knee High and building them into its design. These include spending enough time engaging with the local communities, making the most of the knowledge and expertise already available to truly get under the skin of a problem. In a similar way to Knee High, which focused on addressing three core areas – leaving the house, playing more and supporting parents to cope with the ups and downs of everyday life – Transform Ageing also looks to arrive at a defined set of priority issues to guide its calls out for new ideas.

Mirroring the evaluation of Knee High, the new programme plans to gather and share highly practical and targeted learning for social entrepreneurs, but also for decision-makers including local authorities and policy-makers, to drive change.

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