Permission granted for Blackwood’s £12.5m project to revolutionise healthy ageing



An innovative £12.5 million project is being launched to create three unique ‘communities of the future’ which will help older people in Scotland to live longer, healthier, independent lives.

Blackwood House and Heather Craig

Blackwood Neighbourhoods for Independent Living was developed by working with the communities involved and will help people to stay well and physically active as they age, as well as exploring new products and services to support them.

Blackwood Homes and Care will work with residents and with nine expert partner organisations in industry and academia, to develop the Neighbourhoods for Independent Living in Dundee, Glasgow, and Moray.

The highly innovative and respected partner organisations are:

  • Canon Medical Research Europe
  • Carebuilder UK
  • CENSIS
  • Cisco International Ltd
  • Enterprise Rent-a-Car UK
  • Lewis & Hickey Architects
  • Mydex CIC
  • The DataLab
  • The University of Edinburgh

The residents in each neighbourhood will have their own focus with an emphasis on community involvement and choice over their own lives as well as co-designing and testing a range of innovations to support healthy ageing. Residents offer their support by taking part, using their own data to build the best programme for healthy ageing.

Blackwood House cabinets used by Christine Morrison

The programme - which is to also create 10 new jobs - has been awarded £6m from the UK Research and Innovation funding as part of the ‘Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund / Healthy Ageing Challenge’ with a further £6.5m of contributions from Blackwood and industry partners.

Blackwood Homes and Care builds upon existing award-winning work in developing the highly accessible Blackwood House and CleverCogs™ digital system. It will work with residents and partners to enable people to live independently, including new homes, a design guide to improve upgrading accessibility and adaptations of existing homes as well as future home design.

Together with partners the work will include accessible outdoor spaces so that people can sustain physical activity, supported by digital connectivity and infrastructure that helps security and ethical data control. Sustainable energy and transport will aim to reduce community carbon footprint and reduce transport costs. Individual coaching and support will help people maintain their health and wellbeing. Blackwood aims to include a value exchange model that encourages and rewards community participation.

Fanchea Kelly, chief executive at Blackwood, said: “While Blackwood has a unique focus on design and innovation for independent living, this funding takes us into an exciting future, where we can support more older people and people with disabilities to live their life to the full.

“What we are proposing at our three neighbourhoods will effectively create communities of the future, providing what we hope is a blueprint for great places to be as people grow older. We want Scotland to be the best place to grow older and we believe the best way to do that is to listen to residents and design solutions with expert partners to respond to what they want.

Heather Robertson

“With the UKRI funding, we’ll be able to work with our partners on further predictive tools, for example, building on our existing Smart Metering project (SMILE) where people can use their data to flag any concerning changes in patterns and prevent further vulnerability.”

The neighbourhoods will offer a ‘value exchange model’ to encourage and reward community participation, with additional coaching and support to help residents maintain their health, wellbeing, and independence as they age.

Blackwood has already built two developments of innovative “Blackwood Homes” in Glasgow and Dundee.

CleverCogs being used by Christine Morrison

These are highly accessible, beautiful “smart” properties, designed to remove any obstacles that can disrupt daily life for older people and people with disabilities and come equipped with electronic sliding doors, electric blinds, rise and fall surfaces, cupboards and sinks, and a self-cleaning toilet.

Blackwood’s CleverCogs digital system enables customers to organise their services, care and medical appointments, stay in touch with family and friends via video calls, and listen to music and entertainment. For customers living in “Blackwood Homes”, the system can also be used to control everything from lighting and heat to opening doors and blinds.

The project is one of five ‘trailblazer’ projects that will sharing £23m from the UK Research and Innovation funding as part of the ‘Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund / Healthy Ageing Challenge’.

Tags: Blackwood



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