Design for life competition organised by Irwin Mitchell offers £10K prize for disability innovations

Henderson: This is the perfect opportunity for people to turn a bright idea into reality

A new initiative offering £10,000 to assist in developing an idea to help disabled people live more independently was launched on 22 September 2014 by a leading personal injury law firm and a disability charity.

Design for Life is a competition organised by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors in association with Disability Rights UK which is a charity working to create a society where everyone can participate equally as full citizens. The initiative is also supported by Nesta, the innovation charity that helps people and organisations bring great ideas to life.

The competition encourages people to submit their product ideas and solutions to support disabled adults and/or children with independent living and to improve their quality of life. Ideas could help people with everyday activities that we generally take for granted such as eating and drinking, shopping, gardening, simple tasks around the home, or it could be something more ambitious such as travelling abroad.

Irwin Mitchell will provide funding up to the value of £10,000 to contribute to the development of a prototype of the overall winning entry subject to certain patent tests. The overall winner will also receive £500 in gift vouchers and each age group category winners (under and over 19 years old) will receive £150 in vouchers.

Stuart Henderson, managing partner of personal injury at Irwin Mitchell said: “We are very excited about Design for Life and genuinely hope that we can help stimulate people to create a fantastic device or product that will really improve the quality of life for people living with disability hand help them in some small but significant way to live more independently. It could be something simple but effective or something utilising the cutting edge of technology, the key is not how sophisticated it is but how it helps people in their daily lives.

“Every day we work with clients who have disabilities and here are already many amazing devices and products in the market to help people who are struggling with their disabilities but there is always room for more innovation to solve the issues that disabled people face in everyday life.

“This is the perfect opportunity for people to turn a bright idea into reality and to translate that 3am ‘lightbulb’ moment into something that will make a real difference. We are looking for an innovative product idea or solution that can be used to support disabled adults and or children to live life more fully or to ease daily inconvenience.

“All proposed ideas or solutions should help those living with a disability overcome a day-to-day problem and improve their quality of life.

“We are committed to assisting with the early development of the winning product and would be delighted if this competition not only raises awareness of disability issues, but also develops a new innovative product that makes a difference”.

Liz Sayce, chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said: “We are delighted to be able to present this competition with Irwin Mitchell. Disabled people in the past pioneered the move from institutional life to independent living – and the time is right to develop new products that make life easier and easier for the  millions of people in Britain living with disability or long-term health conditions.

“Everyday life can be challenging – and products to aid independence can really help. We hope this competition will make a difference by supporting the development of a new product.”

“Everyone has the right to live equally and we are determined to ensure disabled people can live independent lives. We encourage as many people as possible to enter as even the smallest ideas could have a huge positive impact on people’s lives.”

Constance Agyeman of Nesta, the innovation foundation said: “With over 12 million disabled people and those living with long term impairments in the UK, there is a growing need for new ideas which enable disabled people equal access to all of life’s opportunities. We are keen to stimulate innovation in this area and pleased to support Design for Life.”

The deadline for submissions is 1 December 2014 and people can apply online at

Winners will be judged on individual merit and not on the standard of submission. In particular attention will be given to the potential scale and reach the solution could provide to improve someone’s quality of life.

Winners will be announced on the Irwin Mitchell website in January 2015 and winners will be notified via email.


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