Mencap has teamed up with tech experts, Vodafone, on an exciting new project called Connected Living.
The partnership has resulted in ground-breaking assistive technology to improve the lives of people with a learning disability, their families and carers.
About Connected Living
The world we live in is becoming increasingly digital, and we are all using technology more in our day-to-day lives - from online banking to social media. People with a learning disability often struggle to access and use digital tools. Mencap want to break down that barrier.
The Connected Living project is the result of a partnership between Mencap with Vodafone Business Ventures (the social enterprise division of Vodafone).
It is an innovative scheme that hopes to provide greater independence, choice and accessibility to people with a learning disability, enhancing their quality of life.
We want to help make everyday activities easier for the people we support - such as household tasks, time planning and socialising. We want technology to support them to be as independent as they want to be.
The project has been a huge collaborative effort between the people we support, support workers and Vodafone to make sure that a product is created that really meets the need of each individual, and helps them in their everyday life.
From November 2018 to December 2020 the technology has been rolled out to 127 people in 30 supported living services across Leicestershire, Hampshire, Somerset, Cornwall, Nottinghamshire and Suffolk.
The technology offers ways to improve communication and independence for people with a learning disability in Mencap services, in an increasingly digital world. For some people this has seen them be able to get ready for the day, use reminders, cook independently and have a discrete method of communicating with supporters when out in the community to stay safe or raise an alarm in the case of an emergency.
This technology has also been designed in order to help our support workers in their role, as a way to help better understand the needs and wants of the person with a learning disability.
Watch the video
Hear from some of the people with a learning disability, support workers and the development team who have been involved in the Connected Living project.
Hear from Adam
Adam lives in a supported living property managed by Mencap. Via the My Life app he is able to make use of various features including How To which allows him, along with a support worker, to create guides for every day tasks, such as cooking, so that he can perform this task proficiently, acquire new skills and become self-managed.
Speaking about this, Adam says:
I can now cook using my tablet. I put water on the hob and use a spoon to stir the pasta. The How To app is clever as it shows you photos with instructions on how to cook your dinner. This is the first time I've made dinner by myself.
Hear from Sophie
Sophie is a Support Worker in a Mencap property. One of the people she supports is Ashley.
Speaking about how the My Life app has improved both of their experiences, she says:
Because of the Connected Living technology Ashely and I can spend more one to one time together doing more important things like going outside or going to town. I don’t have to sit and tell him his daily routine or tell him how to do washing, cleaning or cooking.
It makes me proud that Ashley can go out and be independent and have confidence. It also gives me that peace of mind that I can always be there if he needs me.
About Vodafone Business Ventures
Vodafone Business Ventures, the social enterprise division of Vodafone Business, combines a focus on social purpose with expertise in Connectivity, Cloud, Internet of Things and Mobile Payment Infrastructure.
They aim to empower those with less access to technological resources and use technology to change lives for the better.
Vodafone Business Ventures commercialises social purpose innovations to take them to scale sustainability. All profits are reinvested in Vodafone Business Ventures and Vodafone Foundation charitable programmes.
Helen Lamprell, General Counsel and External Affairs Director, Vodafone UK said:
I am incredibly proud of this project and excited by what it means for the way people with a learning disability will be able to live their lives in the future. It has been developed in partnership between Vodafone, Mencap and, most importantly of all, people with a learning disability themselves.
The project aims to give people with a learning disability greater independence and a better quality of life. It really demonstrates the power of technology to change people's lives for the better.
Mary O'Hagan, Mencap's Deputy Director of Fundraising said:
We are delighted to be partnering with Vodafone Business Ventures to develop technology which will transform the independence of people living with a learning disability, whilst also helping our support workers.
The world we live in is becoming increasingly digital and people with a learning disability often struggle to access these tools. Through our partnership with Vodafone Business Ventures, we are committed to bridging that gap, so we can enhance their independence and remove the isolation that so many of them face.
The My Life app provides simple solutions to enable people with a learning disability to take control of their routines. The design process has included people with a learning disability from Mencap services, in order to create something truly bespoke to meet their exact needs.
We are so pleased to already be seeing the positive impact this technology is having on the lives of the people we support.
Find out more about Vodafone
Visit the Vodafone website: www.vodafone.com/business/why-vodafone/vodafone-business-ventures