The Young Foundation recently joined forces with the Arden Commissioning Support Unit in the West Midlands to develop and support local social ventures with an interest in solving some of the health service’s most intractable problems. These include such issues as obesity, support for the frail and elderly, effective management of long term conditions and reducing overall inequalities in health.
Following a call for expressions of interest there was no shortage of new innovations or ideas for ways in which social ventures could use their expertise together to increase their impact. 106 organisations applied for the programme of development and support provided by The Young Foundation.
Fifteen projects were selected for 3 months of training and support. Training provided included sessions on understanding the market, demonstrating social value and creating a compelling pitch. After these three months the organisations pitched their newly-refined plans for innovation in healthcare to an audience of senior health and local authority managers at a ‘Demo Day’. The seven social ventures with the most developed and well evidenced programmes were selected for a further 3 months training, development and, crucially, introductions to local health managers who might be interested in commissioning their innovative new services from April 2014.
Further training on measuring health outcomes effectively, business planning and social finance are being planned for early 2014. Those social ventures who were successful in getting through to the last 7 were most able to demonstrate their specialist skills and knowledge, evidence the difference their services can make, show how they could deliver on some of the key NHS priorities while all the time delivering excellent value for money. In several cases the projects presenting demonstrated that they could save the NHS money for a remarkably small amount of investment.
We will soon report on the progress of the lucky seven and in their bids to deliver NHS services or receive further funding. In the meantime please keep an eye on the Young Foundation Ventures twitter feed (@YFVentures) to see our video summary of the recent Demo Day.