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Seven Welsh organisations set to receive Innovate to Save grants totalling £150,000

Grants totalling £150,000 have been awarded to seven organisations in Wales through Innovate to Save.

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Managed by Y Lab and funded by Welsh Government, the grants will be used to test new ideas that have the potential to improve public services and generate cashable savings.

Y Lab, the public services innovation lab for Wales, which is a partnership between Cardiff University and Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation will provide support and guidance to the projects over a 12-month period as they test and trial their idea.  Further support will be offered by Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

Their projects tackle a diverse range of challenges, including energy efficiency, managing vital fire safety equipment across a rural fire service, community-based social care, older people’s housing needs, and increasing the retention rates of foster carers.


The first version of  Innovate to Save, launched in 2017, has seen its first implementation loan issued to Leonard Cheshire to support the scaling of their pilot project, Innovation for Active Communities across Wales.

Mark Drakeford, Cabinet Secretary for Finance said:

“I am pleased we are able to announce the second tranche of projects for the Innovate to Save initiative. This second funding round will help continue the momentum and build on the innovative ideas and proposals put forward in the first bidding round, improving public services and generating cash savings.”

Y Lab Co-Lead and Academic Director, Professor James Lewis, said “These projects are all excellent examples of how public sector organisations can use research and innovation to make significant improvements to the services they provide. I am looking forward to supporting the teams from the seven organisations as they work to solve some of the most pressing public sector challenges.”

Rob Ashelford, Y Lab Co-Lead and Head of Programmes, said “ The diversity of projects in the second Innovate to Save cohort is exciting; they work in all regions of Wales, are many different types of organisation and are tackling a wide variety of important challenges. We have been impressed by the projects’ level of ambition and their willingness to embrace uncertainty and look forward to an exciting 12 months working together.”

Innovate to Save, launched in 2017, is a funding and support programme that aims to find the best new ideas for Wales’ public services. Projects undertake a grant-funded research and development phase to test their idea. If it has the potential to improve public services and generate cashable savings, organisations can apply for loan finance for their project to scale and implement their project.

The seven organisations to receive funding are:

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) has been awarded £30,000 to use artificial intelligence to predict the way that vital safety equipment is procured, stored and accessed across MAWWFire Service’s 58 fire stations.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMUHB) have been awarded £30,000 to model a not-for-profit Community Interest Company for NHS Wales to dispense and deliver high-cost medicines directly to patients in their own homes and test the use of technology to improve efficiency in the pharmacy service.

Newport City Council have been awarded £15,000 to work with Surple to reduce energy consumption in Council-run buildings, through a combination of behaviour change methods and digital technologies including software to help people understand and tackle their energy use.

Pro-Mo Cymru has been awarded £15,000 to work with Public Health Wales to develop new ways of communicating sexual health information to young people in Cardiff and test whether this reduces STI rates.

Care and Repair Cymru has been awarded £15,000 to test their ‘Help to Move’ project which will help older people to move house successfully rather than ‘stay put’ in a house that no longer meets their needs. The service will help people assess their housing needs, identify options, offer counselling and emotional support, and evaluate whether the project improves independence, health and well-being.

Solva Care has been awarded £14,401 to explore and develop a new approach to using personal independence payments for Social Care where eligible individuals can be encouraged to pool payments with the support of a locally based Care Cooperative. This approach may improve choice and ability to access care and the project will assess the viability and economics of provision and the impact on Local Authority expenditure, quality and provision.

Flintshire Council has been awarded £30,000 to test a Mockingbird™ ‘constellation’ fostering hub with peer support, regular sleepovers and combined social activities for foster carers and their families.