Housing provider aims to integrate innovation to help customers live independently in their homes for as long as possible
Places for People, the UK’s leading social enterprise, has teamed up with Allia for its expertise in Agetech to help trial devices and solutions with its customers. Allia, chosen for its track record of working in Agetech innovation, has helped Places for People to design these trials by identifying appropriate smart devices and solutions that may help with the challenges of ageing, as well as providing practical advice and guidance throughout the process.
The three-month long trial recently kicked off with ‘tech taster’ events in two separate locations in Blackburn, involving 60 volunteers who are aged over 55. It is focused on wearable tech, with volunteers using branded devices already widely available, such as an Apple Watch or Fitbit and the advanced Ōura smart ring. Participants will undertake surveys and interviews to gather real-time insights about the devices, and the trial will culminate with Allia delivering an extensive report on the data collected and the benefits evidenced by the users.
As part of Places for People’s commitment to creating thriving communities, the trial is set to improve understanding on how wearable tech can help older people stay fit and well for longer. It will also provide housing providers with vital data to help them support their customers to live in their home for longer.
Both organisations are hoping that the recommendations gained from the project will enable a wider scale trial to take place, in a sector with very few previous in-depth trials.
Dr Lorraine Morley, who leads Allia’s Agetech work, said: “This is an important project working towards developing the business case for wider deployment of smart technologies that help support older customers. Together Places for People and Allia are building an evidence base to show if improved fitness and wellbeing can sustain longer tenancies and more successful ageing in place.”
Claire Bailey, Head of Innovation at Places for People, added: “Our customers are an integral part in helping us to create thriving, diverse and welcoming communities. We know from our research ‘Healthy Communities: Place-based built environment interventions to reduce health inequalities by increasing physical activity’ in 2022 the positive impact that housing can have on improving health and the how built environment improvements can facilitate health benefits. This trial for us is about getting a greater understanding of what works and doesn’t for our customers in this demographic.
“We’re looking forward to working with Allia to get the data we need to further develop the technology needed to further support our customers.”
For over four years, Allia worked on the EU project SEAS2Grow with partners in France, Belgium and Netherlands to create the Agetech Accelerator. This programme supported businesses that had developed innovative products and helped test them in living lab settings. Through this, and other projects working with housing and care providers, Allia has gained unrivalled knowledge and networks in the sector, as well as building a hugely comprehensive database of Agetech products and services in the UK and from many countries around the world.
Places for People know they exist because of their customers and strive to support them beyond just providing a home. Through the social impact work*, they offer a range of support services, including Warm spaces and a Cost-of-Living Taskforce to ensure customers can keep living in their home and communities can stay connected.
Notes for Editors:
*In 2022, Places for People provided 19,602 opportunities for young People, supported over 15,000 People with higher education, employment or training, supported 2,282 residents with financial advice and helped 7,787 People facing the risk of homelessness
Allia Future Business Centres offer flexible workspace and a vibrant community for small businesses who are creating change. Allia Impact runs free business support programmes and innovative funded projects. Together, they are dedicated to supporting businesses to thrive, grow and create jobs, so that they can make a positive impact on their community, as well as addressing social and environmental global challenges.
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At Places for People, community is who we are and what we do. As the UK’s leading social enterprise, we believe we can improve our customers’ lives through the communities we build and look after. We do this by honouring our long-term commitment to creating and supporting thriving communities where everyone matters – whether that be through the development of homes, schools, shops, community and leisure centres or providing access to job opportunities, training, and specialist support services.
With over 50 years of experience in creating vibrant and diverse communities, we own or manage over 230,000 homes, operate over 120 leisure facilities, and support more than 500,000 customers. We believe that community matters, and with almost 11,000 employees and 20 specialist companies within the organisation, we have the ability and expertise to create, develop and manage entire places, from supported living to luxury homes.
Combining a commercial mentality with a strong social purpose, Places for People is an organisation that puts what it earns back into creating and maintaining sustainable communities.
For press & media enquiries, please contact Alexandra Booth, Senior Strategic External Communications Manager, Places for People | 01772 897251 | firstname.lastname@example.org