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£100,000 fund to tackle isolation of elderly

The Cabinet Office and Nesta are offering communities a share of a £100,000 fund for ideas on how to reduce isolation in old age.

The Challenge Prize pot comes as part of Nesta’s Ageing Well challenge, which seeks to reward innovation in remedying the social concern of the country’s isolated older people.

After entrants have provided an overview of their idea, up to 25 will be shortlisted and supported to work up detailed plans. Approximately five finalists will be given £10,000 to test their ideas over a period of six months, alongside non-financial support and guidance to help them test their solutions.

A final prize of £50,000 will be awarded to the solution that most successfully meets the judging criteria.

The deadline to submit ideas to the Ageing Well challenge, via an application form on the Nesta website, is 14 September 2012.

Old outnumber young

The Ageing Well challenge prize is, alongside Waste Reduction, one of two giving challenges run by Nesta’s Centre for Challenge Prizes. They come after the government’s Giving White Paper in May 2011 announced the Innovation in Giving programme. 

“The UK has now reached a point where there are more people over the state pension age than children,” reports Nesta on its website. “Yet, at present many older people feel over-institutionalised and disengaged from society.  There is, therefore, a huge opportunity to drive more creative, inclusive and innovative solutions to help improve older people's lives.

“By 2030, people over 50 will comprise almost a third of the workforce and almost half the adult population. The involvement of older people at all levels of planning and delivery is key to social inclusion.”

UK’s low confidence to help elderly

In association with the Challenge Prize and on behalf of Nesta, Censuswide carried out the Ageing Well survey amongst 1,257 UK adults in August 2012.

It revealed more than half of people in the UK want to help reduce the isolation of elderly people in their community but nearly a third lack the confidence to act.

Not knowing where to start was the most cited reason for not acting, with nearly half of all respondents including this as one of their answers.

Lack of time (45 per cent) and lack of funding (42 per cent) came next, while a quarter of those questioned said that they felt they lacked the skills to put an idea into action.

Similarly, 34 per cent said that they would like to help but don’t know how, and 12 per cent of respondents said that they have ideas which they have not yet put into action.

This article was taken from www.civilsociety.co.uk – http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/finance/news/content/13255