Blackwood launches annual design awards

The search to find the brightest and best innovations to help people with disabilities has been launched by housing and care provider Blackwood.

The Blackwood Design Awards are an annual celebration of cutting edge designs and adaptations which help people with disabilities live life independently.

The Awards are open to all, with talented amateurs having as much chance of success as a seasoned pro, as both simple and high-tech designs are welcome.

It boasts a rich history of success, with previous entries including the ‘S’up Spoon’, which enables people with shaky hands to eat more easily, as well as a design for glasses which allow visually impaired runners to follow a running track.

Max Brown, chair of Blackwood, said: “We’re blown away year after year by the quality of entries we receive.

“The brilliant designs and ideas have an amazing impact on the lives of people with disabilities and we’re really proud to be able to give them the prominence they deserve and in some cases, provide the designers with a platform to take their ideas into production.

“We’re open to judging as many designs as possible. It’s such a privilege to work in an industry where so many people are dedicating themselves to improving the lives of others.”

The Blackwood Design Awards celebrate ideas and concepts from everyone, with a university academic as likely to win as an inspired amateur.

There are three categories of award; Best Collaborative Project by a University or Institute of Higher Learning, Best New Concept and Best New Product.

Regular sponsors Kingdom Gas are returning to the competition once again and are joined for the first time by Triodos Bank. Thanks to their combined support, the total prize package is set to be worth thousands of pounds.

Winners from last year’s Awards include Andrew Taylor, for his specially-designed guidance system for visually impaired athletes and the University of Stirling for its Iridis app, which helps users improve living spaces for people with dementia.

Max added: “The broad range of winners we’ve had over the years shows that people shouldn’t be put off because their design is simplistic or because they’re not part of a huge design team.

“We’re always delighted to judge all designs and are really proud to see the incredible success past entrants have gone on to.”

The competition has a rich history of finding success, with entries from all over the globe, from Canada to South Korea.

Entries should be submitted no later than April 12, and entrants will be notified that their submission has been received.

Shortlisting of entries will be completed by April 26 and if selected as a finalist, entrants will be asked to make a final pitch to the judging panel via Skype or in person.

For more information and to enter, visit: and select the BDA icon on the front page.

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