Addressing the challenges of aging


For the third year, the “Designing for the Future” Competition run by The Future Perfect Company and The College of Richard Collyer in Horsham has produced innovative and inclusively designed products which address the challenges of ageing.

The Competition encourages young people to create and design products which will allow people to live enjoyable, active and independent lives as they get older.

This year’s winner, Collyer’s A-level student Ellie Stewart-Croker designed a contemporary hearing aid which can be personalised for any occasion and worn by both men and women.

The concept of the product challenges the idea that such devices need to be discrete suggesting that hearing aids might even become fashion accessories like glasses. The winner received a £75 cash prize.

The two runners up also designed ingenious products and received a cash prize of £25 each. Nora Westerdijk, came up with a travel art set, designed to help motivate and enable older people to use their artistic skills whilst being out and about. Toby Bridger was so inspired by the running blades worn by athletes in the Paralympics that he re-designed a pair of crutches to make them more comfortable to use.

All the entrants will be invited to join the “Designing for the Future” network which supports and promotes alumni from the project.

Philippa Aldrich, founder of The Future Perfect Company said: “It was very exciting to work with this year’s Collyer’s A-level product design students who readily embraced this challenging brief.

“I was particularly impressed by the quality of the prototypes which showed real skill and craftsmanship. Ellie’s winning design was well researched and imaginative and confronts head on the stigma of hearing loss – something which affects many of us as we get older.”

Kate Sharp, Arts Faculty Leader at Collyer’s added: “We are very fortunate to be able to offer the ‘Designing for the Future’ Competition to our second year Product Design students. It has been a very successful adjunct to their coursework. The students get first-hand experience of presenting design ideas to a real life client and then working with Philippa to develop their products. This year we have been able to offer prototyping using 3D printing so students can test and refine their design proposals. The work produced certainly enhances their portfolios when applying for university or further training”.

Judge Charles Palmer said: “This was my first year being involved with the project; I was really impressed with the young designers and their enthusiasm for working in such a new, challenging market”.

The Competition was open to Collyer’s A-level students on the GCE Advanced Subsidiary Product Design course. The judges included Charles Palmer (The Future Perfect Company), Holly Alexander (former winner of the “Designing for the Future” Competition at the University of Brighton) and Philippa Aldrich (founder of The Future Perfect Company). Tutors Kate Sharp (Faculty leader – Arts and Communications) and Jim McDonnell acted as advisors to the judging panel.

The Future Perfect Company ( is an online destination for older people tofind beautifully designed products to help them live a better life.

Report and picture contributed by Collyer’s.