A CELEBRATION event took place on June 29 at Grwp Cynefin’s Awel y Dyffryn Extra Care Housing Scheme to thank their residents from their Bala and Denbigh sites.

In the past 12 months the residents have been crucial in the design and testing of a new app that will launch UK-wide in 2024.

Ruthin-based Book of You, an award-winning social enterprise who help people connect and share their stories digitally, along with tech companies Red Ninja Studios and Cobalt Techno have been designing the new app.

It takes all the features of Book of You’s current “Classic” app and updates it for more modern needs and expectations.

For example, it gives people the chance to add comments and conversations to photographs, make and record video calls within a person’s “book”, and log in using Facebook, enabling the user to upload photographs to their personal “book” directly from their social media page.

The project, called “Connecting our Communities, Sharing our Memories”, was funded by UKRI’s Small Business Research Initiative whereby businesses were invited to come forward with ideas to improve life and wellbeing for over-55s as part of a healthy ageing challenge.

Book of You used “Human Centred Design”, which aims to make the process simple and useful by focusing on the users’ needs and requirements, to help design a brand new app by recruiting a team of testers.

These were drawn from older residents at leading Welsh housing association Grwp Cynefin, and over the course of the project, they were able to offer valuable insights into what residents would like from an app designed especially for them.

As the app nears completion, Book of You invited the residents along to a celebration event at Awel y Dyffryn where their support was recognised with a £50 Amazon voucher and a certificate of thanks from Book of You, presented to them by Mayor of Denbigh, Cllr Alyn Ashworth.

The next stage will be a “beta launch” taking place at all Grwp Cynefin sites where feedback will be collected on the usability of the actual app itself as residents begin to use it on a daily basis.

This will be followed by a full UK launch early next year.