Six digital projects receive Nesta funding

Nesta, the innovation foundation, has announced the six digital projects that will become the latest to receive a share of £150,000 from its ShareLab programme.

The six new projects, all of which explore how collaborative digital platforms can help relieve pressure on existing local public services, has been awarded to a mix of councils, community groups and other bodies. This is the second round of ShareLab funding.


Easing council pressures

Sunderland City Council is one of the beneficiaries and it will use the £25,750 grant to develop its Community Reuse Network, a collaborative digital platform to prevent reusable furniture and household items being destroyed or fly-tipped.

The online platform will enable collections by local ‘re-use centres’. Once the goods have been upcycled, specialist service providers working with vulnerable families, will then be able to source this affordable furniture without shop location, opening times, cost or transport being an issue.

The project will help the council address two of its priorities – reducing the amount of bulky waste that ended up in landfill, and supporting the city’s most vulnerable residents. Recent figures show that some 13,000 bulky waste collections are made each year across Sunderland. Yet, while 60 per cent of the items collected are actually reusable, the majority end up being destroyed.

Fly-tipping is also an ongoing challenge in the area. Some 2,000 reports were registered in one three-month period.

A 2017 prototype proved that using technology can provide significant added value throughout the process, ensuring the most vulnerable get priority in the redistribution of good quality furniture. The ShareLab Fund will allow development of the digital platform, which will be rolled out across the city – and then, potentially, nationwide.


Further projects

Additional projects to receive funding include:

  • Equal Care Co-op, a collaborative platform to bring together care givers and receivers, allowing people eligible for local authority funded support to select their own care workers.
  • Patient Transport Oxfordshire, a prototype digital service that aims to match patients to the transport services they need to get them to and from their medical appointments.
  • Fairbnb, which matches local hosts to ‘priority needs’ homeless families.
  • HomePointr, an online platform designed to address social housing needs by bridging the gap between referral agencies and providers.
  • Sussex Prisoner’s Families (£17,500) development of a digital platform for the families of prisoners to provide support for each other.

Full project details can be found here.

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