About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Grant Awarded: £15,000

Current Phase: Implementation

Innovate to Save Leonard Cheshire yLab

Leonard Cheshire provides practical care and personalised support to disabled people. Its services include care homes, supported living, day services, respite care and personal support. Leonard Cheshire works with people of all ages and types of disabilities, supporting them to live independently, contribute economically and participate fully in society.

Leonard Cheshire embodies a person-centred approach. This means that development and delivery responds to the needs and demands of the people it strives to support. Services are embedded in local communities, including 15 locations across Wales.

The idea

Leonard Cheshire applied to Innovate to Save to test their idea of a project called Innovation for Active Communities (IAC). What they proposed aimed to empower disabled people to use their social care budget and direct payments to take part in activities that interest them, to create more opportunities to socialise and be part of the community. The idea involved a proposed web tool that would connect those who are interested in taking part in the same activity - for example, a trip to the cinema or pub, or a swimming session. The activity could then be assessed for the appropriate support and coordination for it to run effectively.

1-2-1 support is costly and often occurs at the same time each week. By combining activities using IAC, greater flexibility and opportunity become possible for people supported by Leonard Cheshire. Further, the efficient coordination of the system would reduce the percentage of 1-2-1 hours provided each week, creating savings for the Local Authority.

Alongside savings, the IAC had the potential to increase choice and control for disabled people, enable social connections and greater involvement in local communities.

What happened?

Leonard Cheshire worked with 35 individuals in Anglesey over seven months to test whether the IAC was an effective way of improving services for disabled people, and whether the savings they anticipated could be realised.

They found that by improving access to community services and activities, they could reduce the number of 1-2-1 carer hours required, leading to potential savings of £160,000.

Leonard Cheshire also found that the IAC did increase wellbeing amongst participants in the pilot. One Anglesey resident said, “It has boosted my confidence and opened up more opportunities for me.”


  • A strong relationship and buy-in from the Local Authority is key to implementing changes to the delivery of services.
  • It takes more time than you think to set up and run new activities that are accessible for all.
  • Access to data can be a sticking point. Local authorities are rightly careful about sharing sensitive data with other organisations, ensuring data sharing agreements are in place early is vital.

What's next?

As a result of their Research and Development, Leonard Cheshire applied for the Implementation phase of Innovate to Save, alongside a loan of £1 million to scale IAC across Wales.

This case study is also available in Welsh.