Essex Challenge Dementia: September Update

Written by Active Minds on Tuesday the 9th of October 2018.


Cast your mind back a few months, and you may remember that we announced that we had been shortlisted for the Essex County Council Challenge Dementia Prize. Run by Essex County Council, the competition aims to find ambitious and innovative products, technologies and services, which enable people living with dementia to remain connected to the people and places around them.

What Did We Do in September?

Since finding out this exciting news we’ve been busy in Essex, finalising and refining our idea – ‘Happy At Home’, a digital app/website for carers to support them on their journey as they care for someone with dementia. We’ve been busy visiting people on the ground, attended dementia groups and events, and talked in depth to carers in order to fully connect and get a complete and thorough understanding of what life is like as a dementia carer in Essex.

What Did We Learn?

The time we spent talking to people in Essex was invaluable, and every single piece of information has helped inform and shape our next steps. The main take-homes from our conversations are:


  • Information needs to be streamlined and relevant, so carers aren’t overwhelmed by the content. For example, if you are caring for someone who has just been diagnosed with dementia, you don’t want to be bombarded with information about end-stage dementia.
  • Finding relevant and local services can often be hard we wanted to create a platform that is easy to navigate.
  • Caring can be a lonely job, so creating a community feel for carers within the app is essential.


  • Content needs to be in an easy to follow and understand language.
  • Design needs to be simple and easy to use.
  • The app should work on multiple platforms, including smartphones and computers.
  • Connect to existing services, supports and people – no need to reinvent the wheel, just make it easier to find.
  • Design needs to take place beyond just the platform, and fully integrate with a carers journey, and the people and places they go and meet.

What Next?

We have then taken these insights to help guide the next stage of our digital app, creating a prototype to take back to the community and get their honest feedback. This feedback will then be used to create a minimum viable product.

We look forward to giving you further updates as our app continues to be developed.