Our healthy smart city is a key strand of our City Plan and we are committed to improving the lives of local people through the innovative use of technology. We are therefore delighted to have been selected as one of just two cities nationally to explore technology solutions in partnership with Homes for Healthy Ageing, a programme launched by Connected Places Catapult to build a healthier future for the UK.

As we continuously develop our reputation as a digital health leader, the national pilot programme will see Sunderland take centre stage as a trailblazing testbed for the new technology that could help to tackle the city’s housing and health challenges. By working directly with people, we can explore their needs and consider how the latest ideas and technologies can help.

Through the funding injection of £50,000, Sunderland City Council will explore how technology can be used to deliver healthier homes in the city, such as using technology to monitor issues like cold or damp in the city’s houses. With the aim of tackling issues in the homes of the city’s most vulnerable residents and identifying conditions that can often go on to cause health problems, particularly in older people.

The programme fits intrinsically with the city’s agenda around health and housing, having been named the UK’s Smart City of the Year 2020 for our innovative work, including the use of technology to enhance the lives of residents in the city.

Councillor Kevin Johnston, dynamic city cabinet member, said: “The Homes for Healthy Ageing Programme and Sunderland City Council have a shared belief that technology has the power to transform lives and that’s why we’re delighted to be chosen as a city to host the programme. Together, we will explore new ways we can improve health outcomes for residents in their own homes.”

The council will work in partnership with a range of city partners, including Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the University of Sunderland, Sunderland Care and Support and Gentoo to shape the programme.  The funding will see the city play a vital role in the programme as one of only two testbeds in the country to test this new tech, catalysing a further £400,000 which will be rolled out to a wider trial across further locations.

Councillor Johnston, added: “Technology has the power to transform lives and that’s why we’re delighted to be chosen as a city to host the programme. Our focus is on making Sunderland a city where every person can live well, and independently for as long as possible, with support that empowers them to lead a fulfilled life.”

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