Monday 20 May 2013, 11:47 | By

Creative England’s Creative Skills For Life Competition Fund launches

CSL Updates

Creative England

Today, Creative England in partnership with NHS England launches a new initiative which will support development projects that use digital technology to give young people being treated for cancer and other life-limiting conditions the chance to explore their creative potential as a catalyst for healing and personal development, in collaboration with the Creative Skills For Life programme.

Creative England now invites applications for its Creative Skills For Life competition fund totalling £100,000, which aims to develop prototypes that leverage digital technologies and media to enhance the quality of life for young people with long-term life-threatening and lifelimiting conditions. This fund is targeted at creative businesses who wish to bring innovative concepts or prototype to success in the market place in support of the Creative Skills For Life Creative Skills For Life introduces participants to creative disciplines, such as music/film making, photography and design; with a view to equipping them with the confidence, skills and motivation to address the challenges they face and boost the recovery process during and post

Commenting on his agency’s participation in Creative Skills For Life, Creative England Development Director Jim Farmery said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Creative Skills For Life to initiate this ground-breaking programme. We are committed to opening up practical opportunities for creative businesses to work with business clusters in other sectors and this is the first time that our focus has been on healthcare.”

Ian Spero, Founder, Creative Skills For Life commented, “Creative England’s enthusiastic and on-going encouragement has been instrumental in the development of Creative Skills For Life. We are now looking forward to receiving some exciting creative ideas for apps or games that will enable young people facing potentially isolating situations to explore their creative potential and engage with a wider world in new, more meaningful ways.”

For NHS England Creative Skills For Life represents an opportunity to explore the impact of creativity and enabling technologies applied to long term conditions in a way that can enhance and enrich people’s lives, particularly in the delivery of healthcare to the younger population.

According to Alex Abbott Chief Technology Officer for NHS England, who will be participating in the assessment process: “Creating economic opportunities for the UK health informatics sector, particularly new, emerging micro-enterprises and SMEs, is a priority for NHS England. I will be on the lookout for great ideas that benefit young people living with life-threatening conditions which are potentially sustainable and commercially viable given appropriate support.”

This exciting new initiative from Creative England in collaboration with Creative Skills For Life and NHS England will help enable patients to take greater direct control of situations that affect them, such as maintaining their social network and academic life during and after treatment.

This is in alignment with the Health Secretary’s aim of providing people with control over their own care through information technologies as this saves the country £3 on every £1 spent.

The Creative Skills For Life Programme is a direct response to a new Government NHS Mandate which includes seizing the opportunities of new technology, enhancing quality of life for people with long term conditions and improving standards of care, not just treatment. A recent report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hospice and Palliative Care revealed that the number of 16 to 19 year olds living with these conditions in the UK has nearly doubled in the last decade. As advances in medical science means this trend will continue, the report identified a real need to help young people manage the day to day impact of long term health related conditions and terminal illness.

The fund will provide ten investments of up to £10,000 each, to facilitate development of innovative concepts or prototypes, for apps or other creative tools that will enable young people living with life-threatening or life-restricting conditions to explore their creative potential and interact and co-create with friends and family. The assessment panel will welcome proposals that encourage and enable the collaborative generation of creative activities among users, based on cross-media formats and consumption.

Greg Wilford, an ambassador for CSL, illustrates how utilising creativity has provided him with a better quality of life. Greg lives with the condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a neuromuscular degenerative disease. He benefits from a workspace which facilitates his interest in creativity and writing, and he has been working on a short film which is extremely important to him and values an interest that is based on his own ability. “In a lifestyle where a lot of physical control has to be surrendered; the feeling of having something you can ‘be yourself’ with – truly yourself, is a triumphant one. Technology and social media gives every disabled person the chance to dabble in the arts. To paint, to compose, to write – and most of all, to say something that’s never been said before. All that’s needed is an over-active imagination, the right inspiration and an audience adventurous enough to go along for the ride.”

This initiative is funded by Creative England via the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, and managed by Creative England in collaboration with Creative Skills For Life and NHS England.

The deadline is 5 July 2013 and more information can be found here.