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Podcast is sound choice for all passionate on independent living

Blackwood’s 50th anniversary includes new show for underserved sector

A pioneering independent living specialist in Scotland is launching a dedicated podcast to help celebrate 50 years of helping people live more independently.

Blackwood has promised the episodes will have something for everyone interested in Scotland’s rapidly changing housing, health and social care sector – including its own staff and customers.

The new venture will feature an exciting line-up of guests that reads like a Who’s Who of housing, health and social care, as well as leading experts in robotics and designers focused on improving living spaces for those with disabilities or age-related conditions.

Fanchea Kelly, Chief Executive of Blackwood, said: “We’re privileged to have access to so many interesting people who have given so much throughout their professional lives to improving the lives of others.

“So, we are incredibly pleased to be creating a new platform for those voices that will help explain and explore their work while making it easily accessible.

“We’ll be speaking with agenda setters and policy makers as well as the finest minds in science, research, robotics, smart technology and design. What unites them all is a passion for helping people to live longer, happier and more independent lives.”

As well as high-profile guests, the new podcast will also help the charity celebrate its 50th anniversary by focusing on some of its longest-serving staff and customers, who will tell their personal stories about how Blackwood changed their lives for the better.

Since being founded by disability campaigner Dr Margaret Blackwood, the organisation has gone on to become one of the most progressive in helping people to live independently, despite disabilities, mobility-limiting conditions and the effects of ageing.

Particularly renowned as a pioneer in technology, Blackwood’s annual Design Awards attract inventors and innovators from all over the world, while its bespoke “Blackwood House” design is seen as the benchmark for tech-assisted independent living.

Confirmed guests lined up for the new podcast include social care policy leaders, Brian Sloan the Chief Executive of Age Scotland; and Blackwood’s own high-respected Chair, Julie McDowell.

Broadcaster Pennie Taylor is also scheduled for a host slot. She is best-known as a long-standing BBC Scotland Health Correspondent and is still one of the country’s top journalists covering the health and social care sectors.

Other episodes will feature Blackwood’s tech champions interviewing academic experts on how robots and other cutting-edge technology will continue to transform independent living. They will include Professor Praminda Caleb- Solly, of the University of Nottingham and Dr Mauro Dragone, from Heriot-Watt Universities Edinburgh Centre for Robotics.

Fanchea added: “There really will be something for everyone. We all know someone who needs extra care to live independently and since growing older is an inevitability, we have a vested interest in this for our own futures.

“The pace of technological change is summed up in podcasts, which have become one of the most accessible forms of communication there is, so it is a fitting format for Blackwood to adopt as we celebrate 50 years.

“The housing and care sector has gone through a tremendous change since we started, especially with advances in digital technology. We want to ensure Blackwood is at the forefront of what the next 50 years will bring.”

Since 1972, Blackwood housing and care has been providing specialist accommodation aimed at maximising independent living – with innovation being a key driving force.

The charity’s vision has remained consistent with what founder Dr Margaret Blackwood set out years ago – “helping people live their life to the full”.

Technology modernisation has seen the installation of a digital services system, CleverCogs alongside the launch of the bespoke “Blackwood House”, which is a cutting-edge design combining technology and modern construction to meet customer’s changing needs.

Blackwood operates more than 1500 properties across 29 local authorities, helping transform its customers’ lives.

The podcast will be available on the Blackwood website as well as on the usual channels including iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and most mainstream podcast apps.


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