Alness pupils share their views on ‘FIT Home’ design

VR FIT Home, Alness Acad. Pupils Amandeep Kainth (15) and Shonagh Reece (15) with LtoR Angus Watson, NHS Highland, Graeme Hamilton, Albyn Housing and Matt Stevenson, Carbon Dynamic.
Pupils Amandeep Kainth (15) and Shonagh Reece (15) with LtoR Angus Watson, NHS Highland, Graeme Hamilton, Albyn Housing and Matt Stevenson, Carbon Dynamic.

Pupils at Alness Academy in Ross-shire have had their say in shaping the homes of the future at an interactive co-design workshop hosted by Albyn Housing Society, Carbon Dynamic and NHS Highland.

The event was held as part of the partnership’s ‘FIT Homes’ project, which aims to develop a new sustainable home design for residents with long-term health and care needs who want to live independently at home.

The first of its kind in the UK, the initiative will take input from a wide variety of stakeholders including patients, clinicians, service providers, potential tenants and the wider community.

As part of the consultation, the Alness Academy pupils had the chance to view the current design and layout using virtual reality technology, enabling them to experience the space in 3D.

The technology was developed by Invergordon-based Carbon Dynamic to enable users to experience a building’s environment before it is even built, allowing for changes to be made with minimal implications on build and cost.

During the session, they worked with staff from NHS Highland who helped them understand how well-designed homes can affect health and wellbeing. “Involving students in co-designing health and care is crucial to creating innovative solutions”, said Professor Angus Watson, director of research, development and innovation at NHS Highland.

Speaking of the event, Lucy Fraser, head of innovation at Albyn Housing Society, said: “In order to source feedback from a whole range of stakeholders, we have used the very latest technology to create a virtual reality model, helping users to experience the built environment in an innovative way.

“The central concept of the homes is that they will include ambient, physiological and building sensors to collect data that can be monitored and responded to by a variety of agencies – potentially transforming the way health and social care is delivered.

“It is very important that the FIT Home design meets the needs and aspirations of people of all ages, including young people. We’ve really enjoyed working with the pupils today and they’ve provided some really fascinating feedback.”

Donald MacRae, principal teacher of guidance at Alness Academy, added: “Young people have an intuitive knowledge of modern technology and our pupils have been really enthusiastic about helping shape the homes of the future.

“As part of this, they were asked to consider what they would want taking account of the likely circumstances people using these homes would face. Their creative approach and empathy has generated some really interesting feedback and, like them, I’m really looking forward to seeing how their insights feed into the final designs.”

Set to commence this August, the first phase of FIT Homes, which will include 14 new homes and two community spaces, is planned for Albyn Housing Society’s new site at Dalmore, Alness. A further 32 houses, including homes for veterans, will be built in Inverness and the surrounding area.

The innovative homes are constructed off-site by Carbon Dynamic and delivered to their location for final completion.

Part of the Scottish Funding Council’s innovation centre programme, the Digital Health and Care Institute is supporting the project, which will also deliver invaluable research into the health economics of the FIT Homes concept.

For more information about Albyn Housing Society visit

For more information about Carbon Dynamic visit

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