Salford pupils pitch healthcare solutions at “The Innovation FACTor”

Holographic doctor appointments, a mental health app for teenagers and charms to help track family members with dementia were the three innovative healthcare ideas Salford pupils pitched to a panel of Manchester experts and patients.

Health Innovation Manchester teamed up with Salford City Council’s Fuelling Ambitions Creatively Together (FACT) project to hear ideas from three Year 9 school teams on how to solve current health problems.

“The Innovation FACTor” saw teams pitch their solutions to a panel consisting of Health Innovation Manchester, NHS innovation experts Trustech and patient members during the event at Salford Royal Hospital on April 24.

The projects included Albion Academy’s Team MHH who pitched an app which aims to help young people manage their mental health better, with focus on helping people with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.

Albion Academy pupil Abbie Foley, aged 14, said: “I was nervous about pitching our idea to the panel but once I got up there I started to feel more confident.

“It was great to get feedback from the panel about our idea and get advice to take it forward.

“I really enjoyed taking part, learning about mental health and having the chance to share our idea with other schools.”

Albion Academy’s Careers Coordinator Julie Baker also praised the pupils and how they have developed since starting the project.

“It has been great to watch the pupils grow in confidence and develop their skills during this process,” she said.

“It has helped to raise their aspirations and give them an idea about the world of work through the collaboration with the community and local businesses.”

Another idea pitched to the panel was All Hallows RC High School’s “Holoface”, an app that allows patients to have a virtual appointment with a doctor or health specialist if they are unable to leave their home due to ill health, disability or mental health issues.

Team DOFH, from Moorside High School, pitched their idea for a tracker device that can help families stay connected with or track their loved ones who are living with dementia if they go missing.

Each team created and developed their projects during a Hackathon event at The Landing at MediaCityUK where they were given the chance to hear from inspirational speakers from the business world.

Sarah Thew, Associate Director of Digital at Health Innovation Manchester, sat on the panel of judges and said: “The Innovation FACTor was a fantastic event and the entire panel were very impressed with the pupils’ vision and confidence and how their ideas were grounded in their own and family experiences.

“We were delighted to share our thoughts and offer advice and tips to help the teams develop and grow their ideas in the future.”

Debbie Cook, FACT project Co-ordinator at Unlimited Potential, added: “I felt incredibly proud watching the presentations today.

“It is testament to how far the young people have progressed, not only with their confidence and skills, but also their ability to present their ideas creatively and with conviction to a panel of people that they had never met before. I know how nervous they felt about doing this, so it is a huge personal achievement for each and every one of them.”

FACT is a transformation project which aims to strengthen high school pupils’ resilience, increase their connections and help raise aspirations and confidence. This is achieved by giving them the chance to develop innovative ideas through working with local contacts.

The project is commissioned by Salford City Council in conjunction with Unlimited Potential, a social enterprise in Salford.

Debbie Blackburn, Assistant Director of Public Health Nursing and Wellbeing at Salford City Council, said: “The Innovation FACTor was a really positive event and it was helpful for the young people to hear from the panel in order to grow and shape their ideas.

“We are proud to support events to raise the aspirations of Salford’s young people.”