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  • Run by In Control and Care City.
  • User research found that there are various factors that impede people’s ability to optimise self-directed support.
  • This project will involve the co-design of a digital platform for mutual support, ‘Thrive’, with the aim of using technology to offer guidance and inspiration at all stages of people’s self-directed support journey. 
  • Running from September 2023 to July 2024, with potential further funding to pilot the idea. 

Mechanisms for self-directed support (SDS) such as personal care budgets can empower and enable people to realise greater independence. However, various factors can impede people’s ability to optimise this support. 

User research conducted during the first phase of this project found that formal support is often poor and/or access is limited, and that the onus is often on the individual to build and find informal support networks. People often feel abandoned and overwhelmed at the beginning of their SDS journey and want help to navigate the bureaucratic and administrative complexities. 

This project will explore how technology can enable SDS, reduce administrative burden, improve communication and connect individuals to an SDS community. It will involve the co-design of a digital platform, ‘Thrive’. 

Thrive will connect those embarking on SDS to a virtual peer mentor to guide them along their journey. The trained virtual mentor will help them navigate SDS, link to them to resources, and offer them the confidence to realise the opportunities of SDS.

Members will be able to exchange ideas via an online community; building relationships, and offering inspiration and solutions. The platform will use conversational artificial intelligence to help people find the information and connections they need. 

The project team’s ambitions for ‘Thrive’ are to put power into people’s hands and to support people to exercise control and choice.

During phase 2 (testing ideas) of the project, the team will co-design and test the digital platform, with regular feedback loops to check what is being learned through user testing and adapting the prototypes iteratively. This will ensure the platform is based on users’ needs.

Contact information

For further information about this project, please contact James Sinclair, Chief Operating Officer, Care City.

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