Embedding Service Design in Age UK Newcastle

Timeframe: 2009-2011
Funder: Technology Strategy Board

Dr Laura Warwick was the Associate on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Age UK Newcastle, a charity that offered services and support for people aged over 50 in the city. Supported by colleagues at Northumbria University, she helped to embed Service Design approaches in the charity to help the organisation take a user-centred perspective to creating new services and improving existing ones.

Several new services were developed, including Phone Neighbours, which facilitated peer-to-peer support for socially isolated, lonely older people. The programme also saw a shift in Age UK Newcastle’s culture to become a more customer-focused and responsive organisation.

The KTP also won a national award for Best Knowledge Base Impact, as well as being graded outstanding by the Technology Strategy Board. As a result of the programme’s success, Laura was invited to be a plenary speaker at Age UK’s Services for Later Life conference, as well as run a workshop for Age UK’s national service development team. Age UK also used the programme to shape a flagship pilot, providing service design support to four local Age UK’s.