A Northern Ireland consortium is leading on innovative approaches to tackling isolation and loneliness in older people as part of the £2.5 million Connected Places Catapult ‘Homes for Healthy Ageing’ Programme.

The consortium – made up of Age NI, Belfast City Council, Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC), Markets Development Association (MDA), Public Health Agency NI, Queen’s University Belfast, The Health Innovation Research Alliance (HIRANI) and Ulster University – is one of two UK partners selected for the programme.

A new healthy ageing testbed was set up in the Markets area of Belfast in autumn 2021. The testbed provides community-centred and real-world scenarios for local innovators to trial and develop the most promising solutions to address national challenges in healthy ageing.

Ten companies are trialling and demonstrating a range of innovative products and services within the testbed. For more information visit:

The Northern Ireland consortium’s £50,000 funding has supported a dedicated task force responsible for ensuring the effective rollout of the local testbed. As well as gaining access to the tools, user insights and know-how needed, the taskforce has been able to draw on the Catapult’s network of key changemakers who have helped guide their healthy ageing strategies and aims to drive real change for communities.

Showcase event

17 June 2022, Europa Hotel, Belfast, 9.30am – 4pm

Join the project team on 17 June 2022 at the Europa Hotel, Belfast, to see the latest innovative solutions improving the health, wellbeing and independence of older adults facing social isolation and loneliness in Northern Ireland. From technology that helps you stay connected with family, friends, and carers, to wearable devices that monitor health conditions, ten businesses will be showcasing and sharing insights on the products and services they have been trialling in real-world settings.

You’ll benefit from this event if you’re:

  • an investment partner or venture capitalist;
  • a local authority, housing association, charity or non-profit; or
  • a researcher, academic, or policy professional.

Find out more and register at https://cp.catapult.org.uk/event/homes-for-healthy-ageing-northern-ireland-showcase/

Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Kate Nicholl commented:

“Belfast City Council is delighted to be working with Connected Places Catapult, our local universities and other partners on Homes for Healthy Ageing. With the over-65 demographic set to rise to one quarter of the UK population by 2050, this programme will work directly with people to explore their needs and to consider how the latest ideas and technologies can help. It’s a welcome opportunity to tap into world-leading research from business and universities and test these ideas in a real-life setting.

“The project is part of Belfast’s Smart district, a place where partners from industry, academia, government and communities work together to develop innovative solutions to major urban challenges associated with health, mobility and decarbonisation.”

More information

For more information, visit the Connected Places Catapult website at https://cp.catapult.org.uk/opportunity/homes-for-healthy-ageing-programme/