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Design awards spark bright ideas to help people with arthritis

Published on 25 November 2016
Source: Arthritis Today
Arthritis Today Winter 2016, No 171

Spark Awards - turning bright ideas into products that encourage an active lifestyleWhen arthritis stops you doing the little things in life it can have a huge impact on your independence and confidence. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the Design Council to uncover and fund aspiring inventors who want to turn their bright ideas into products that make everyday life better for people with all kinds of arthritis.

The partnership, which began earlier this year, led to the creation of a unique awards category at the annual Design Council Spark Awards recognising innovative product design offering practical solutions to the challenges faced by people living with arthritis.

A handy solution 

The 2016 award was won by Handy-Fasteners, the brain-child of three Sheffield University graduates. The magnetic clothes fasteners can be retrofitted to existing garments, replacing fiddly buttons. If you have arthritis in your hands, you’ll know all too well how challenging buttons and fastenings can be and it’s hoped Handy-Fasteners will make dressing and undressing independently much easier in future.

The team of designers will now receive up to £50,000 of funding to bring their product to life, with a view to getting it on the shelves and making a difference as soon as possible.

Got an idea?

Entries are now open for the 2017 Spark Awards and the search for ingenious and effective solutions to the everyday challenges of arthritis continues. Olivia Belle, Director of External Affairs at Arthritis Research UK, says: "We believe that by harnessing the power of design we can help people with arthritis break free from the limits of their condition.

"This award will inspire the design community to continue to think about the needs of people with arthritis. That’s why we’re delighted to work with the Design Council once again this year to help turn bright ideas into brilliant products."

Applications are now open, so if you have an idea for a great product and would like support and funding to take it through the design process, visit the Design Council for more information.

Read next: Nora was struggling to cope with the pain of arthritis, but making small changes has helped her to feel in control.

Nora stretching using an exercise band

Nora was struggling to cope with the pain of osteoarthritis. But making small changes like incorporating exercise into her day and pacing herself have helped her to feel in control.

For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.