A one-man Microsoft BizSpark company from Hull is up against the likes of Barclays Bank with a dementia memory aid that he made for his Mum. myhomehelper beat off competition from over 200 candidates to be selected in the final of the AbilityNet Technology4Good awards.
Aimed primarily at those living on their own myhomehelper displays regular, random and timed reminders/photos to assist with daily activities and help relieve boredom, tiredness, anxiety and depression but doesn’t require any computer experience or knowledge from the user. It also helps family and friends by reducing the reliance on them while the video calling feature allows them to easily stay in touch.
The system was created by Hull businessman Kevin Marsch, Director of Simpla Solutions. “I developed myhomehelper to assist me in caring for my Mum who was diagnosed with dementia in 2010.” After receiving positive feedback about the system from care workers, Social Services and NHS professionals Kevin quit his job of 14 years in 2011 and formed Simpla Solutions to develop the myhomehelper further and focus on making it available nationwide.
It has been piloted across the UK and US for the last 18 months. During this time Kevin has received support from other Hull companies with KC providing free ADSL2+ connections to those taking part in the Hull pilot and Strawberry who provided free hosting and support for the web site. Simon Crosby, Head of Development at Strawberry said “When we heard from Kevin and what he wanted to accomplish we knew straight away that we wanted to help him. We think that startup companies need as much help as they can get and to help a local startup supporting a worthy cause struck a chord. It’s great that his work has been recognised in this way.”
Kevin has been receiving praise for myhomehelper from all quarters. Former Secretary of State for Health and Labour MP for West Hull and Hessle, Alan Johnson, said “myhomehelper is a big idea developed by a tiny company. I applaud Kevin Marsch who has developed this concept in Hull. His hard work has provided help for dementia sufferers and a boost for British trade.”
It is thought that there are approximately 800,000 people living with Dementia in the UK, with over 7,500 in the Hull and East Riding area alone. These numbers are expected to rise significantly in the future. Kate Atkin of the Hull & East Riding Alzheimer’s Society said of myhomehelper: “The Alzheimer’s Society welcomes any innovation that uses technology to assist in the daily lives of people with dementia and their carer’s.”
The Technology4Good Awards celebrate the hard work of people of all ages who use the power of computers and the internet to make the world a better place. They were created by AbilityNet, working with BT and a range of commercial and not for profit partners and sponsors. “Being selected as a finalist alongside the likes of Barclays Bank is great. It gives exposure to myhomehelper that I just wouldn’t be able to achieve on my own.” said Kevin, who has been selected in the Accessibility award category.
To vote for myhomehelper in the People’s Choice award go to the Technology4Good website http://www.technology4goodawards.org.uk/peoples-award-2013/ . Votes can also be made via twitter by tweeting #T4GMyHomeHelper – the more people tweet this, the more votes will be recorded. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony, to be hosted by Mariella Frostrup, which takes place at the BT Centre in London on 4th July.