Bristol-based Remarkable Tech, a social good startup aimed at using digital tech to celebrate and support the lives of older people, has received funding from UnLtd fund and incubator for social entrepreneurs to scale-up and develop Remarkable Lives – the ‘App for Ageing Well’.

The UnLtd award, called ‘Grow It’, will provide the funds and business support necessary to scale-up the company and build the app – a social network that celebrates the life stories and achievements of older people – improving society’s connectivity with later life.

“Through these positive images and life-affirming stories, negative perceptions of later life can be challenged”

 

The app works by allowing families to create a profile based on a life-story timeline of their older relative’s life – adding and sharing photographs, stories, video and audio privately – to celebrate the person’s life, share memories and stimulate reminiscence through storytelling and communication.

Owen McNeir founder of Remarkable Tech (pictured left) adds: “The act of creating and sharing the profile brings families – and friends and carers – together around the old person, but also documenting that life together, so reducing a sense of isolation and empowering the older person. Through these positive images and life-affirming stories, negative perceptions of later life can be challenged, and the individual’s confidence and self-esteem can be nurtured.

“The Transform Ageing programme aims to revolutionise the approach to health, wellbeing and social care for people in later life”

 

“Care providers, housing associations and community groups who subscribe to the platform will be given access to the person’s profile and use the app to record information about their clients, events and interventions, and to enhance communication with the family. Enabling this more personalised and informed service – providing a quick, easily accessible all-round picture of a client’s life experience – will help to save time and money by improving staff acquisition and training, job satisfaction and care standards.”

Transforming Ageing

As well as being the result of a successful kickstarter campaign and UnLtd ‘Do It’ award back in April, the app is also being released as part of a new South West programme – ‘Transform Ageing’ – which is funded by the Big Lottery in partnership with UnLtd, the Design Council, the South West Academic Health Science Network and the Centre for Ageing Better to deliver people-centred solutions that better support the needs and aspirations of older people.

Owen tells us: “The Transform Ageing programme aims to revolutionise the approach to health, wellbeing and social care for people in later life, and it’s starting in the South West of England. Partly because we have a higher proportion of people in later life than many other parts of the UK, but I like to think it’s also because the South West is a hotbed of innovation, ideas and exciting entrepreneurial thinking by people who want to do good things for our community and make a positive social impact through creative collaboration.

“To really understand the challenges of ageing and the care sector, I’ve spent the summer immersing myself on the front line of that world. Not just talking to care home managers, hospice teams, housing associations and community leaders, but engaging directly with people in later life by running Remarkable Lives reminiscence interviews.

“Together with time spent with individuals, their families and carers, this has been invaluable in helping me to identify and prove a need and valid use for my product.”

Following a summer of research and interviews Owen is now looking to trial the app this autumn, both with institutional users and the general public, and plans to launch publicly before the end of the year.

The startup has also just been accepted as 1 of the 9 tech startups from 150+ applications onto the Bethnal Green Ventures tech for good autumn accelerator along with University of Bristol spin-out LettUs Grow which allows people to grow fresh salad in their own homes whilst reducing food waste.

To stay up to date with the development of the app, head over to the Remarkable Lives website or follow them on Twitter here: @RemarkableAge.

If you’re interested in UnLtd funding for your social enterprise startup or scale-up, check out the UnLtd website or follow them on Twitter here: @UnLtd.

Alice Whale