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Unique Dementia Challenge sets out to change lives for the better

19 January 2018

Pioneering projects are being sought in a first-of-its-kind national challenge to find the next generation of ideas to help improve the lives of people living with dementia.

Challenge Dementia, which has been spearheaded by Essex County Council , launches on Essex Dementia Day, Friday January 19. It’s a national search for next generation products, technologies and services that could transform the way people live with dementia , helping them to live enjoyable and fulfilling lives for as long as possible.

The challenge is open to individuals, teams and companies with ideas for ambitious and innovative products, technologies and services that will enable people living with dementia to remain connected to the people and places around them and to maintain their identity. 

Entries must be submitted by 12pm on Friday April 13. Following that, a panel of judges will invite up to 10 finalists to test and develop their ideas in Essex over a six month period starting in May.  Each idea will receive £5,000 funding and access to a unique ecosystem of dementia experts from across the community, voluntary, public and private sector as well as people living with dementia.  £100,000 will be awarded to the winner who successfully meets the entry and judging criteria.

Solutions might include an easy to use service that keeps people connected to their family or friends; a programme that helps and encourages people to keep in contact with the places they love, from walking outdoors to enjoying a pint at their local pub; or even a simple digital solution that helps people connect with their community according to their likes.

Cllr John Spence, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care for Essex County Council, said:
“This Essex Dementia Day, when there are already over 50 events taking place across Essex to support those living with dementia, is the perfect day to launch the Challenge Dementia Prize.
We have seen that small things like interactive light activities and digital reminiscence tools can make a huge difference to the lives of people living with dementia.  The prize provides an exciting opportunity and a catalyst for people who might already be developing ideas to kick-start projects, uncover potential innovations and develop ground-breaking solutions. “

Cllr David Finch, Essex County Council Leader, said: “The aim of the Challenge Dementia prize is to stimulate the market and encourage teams, organisations and individuals to think differently about enabling people living with dementia to live to their full potential by focusing on the vibrancy and identity of the individual. 
We are encouraged by initial conversations with potential applicants and we expect to see ideas and solutions that will not only positively change the lives of individuals, but will also contribute to influencing the existing dementia system for the better.”

Further information regarding Challenge Dementia criteria and eligibility can be found at the Challenge Dementia webpage  https://goo.gl/BMEQLN.