BuddyHub has been awarded funding as part of the Healthy Ageing Challenge competition run by UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI). Thirty-one projects will share nearly £3m in funding to tackle the impacts of ageing.
BuddyHub creates intergenerational, supportive social groups of four people called ‘Friendship Wheels’ to support mental and physical health. The investment will be used to design and pilot a parallel service to form ‘Clubs’ of 10-15 people around diverse interests giving everyone involved, but especially lonely older people, opportunities to expand their social circle and make even more friends. Catherine McClen, Founder and CEO of BuddyHub, said:
“We are incredibly happy with this award which recognises BuddyHub’s innovative and scientific approach to helping people form new local friendships to overcome loneliness and improve their wellbeing. We have a great team with diverse skills and experience who, together with our members, will design and pilot a new ‘Clubs’ service. By putting local members at the heart of everything we do, together we can tackle loneliness in their area and create vibrant, happier, intergenerational communities where everyone can make new friends and no one needs to fear being lonely”.
UKRI is the public body that distributes UK government funding for research and innovation across the UK, and works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish.
This is the first time a UKRI funded competition has targeted social enterprises, so that projects are more directly designed to create social, as well as economic, benefits. “Social enterprises can play an important part in addressing inequalities in healthy longevity, yet recent research has highlighted the difficulties they face in raising funds to grow. That’s why the UKRI healthy ageing challenge will provide £2.78 million funding through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI)”, said George MacGinnis, Healthy Ageing Challenge director at UKRI.