Healthy Ageing Challenge: That's a wrap!

December 21, 2023

Healthy ageing challenge: that’s a wrap!

The challenge…

With an ageing population and long-term conditions on the rise, healthcare systems are facing unprecedented strain. It’s estimated that inactivity and sedentary lifestyles are the leading causes of multiple chronic diseases and many see a clear physical health decline starting at 50 years old.

Simple daily behavioural changes like walking, good sleep and balanced nutrition have a huge impact on disease prevention and health outcomes. However, existing solutions mainly rely on human coaching, making them expensive and unsustainable, and for older adults, current services can fail to meet their needs through a lack of appropriate behavioural recommendations and accessible communication.

💰 inactivity costs the NHS £1.06 billion annually

🤯 the average monthly cost of existing health behaviour change services is £40

Becoming part of the solution…

Funded by the UKRI Healthy Ageing Challenge,  Holly Health and Age UK Lewisham and Southwark partnered to enhance the Holly Health service for healthy ageing.


The project took place over 18 months and was driven by user-centred design. This involved co-designing the service with older adults over 50 years old through cycles of gathering feedback, collaboration and regular service improvements. Ages ranged from 54-90, across 10+ ethnicities with a range of IT abilities/IT literacy.


  • 📈 More than 7,000 new users over 45 years old gained
  • A successful 12-week pilot with 36 older adult participants showed statistically significant health improvements across: exercise, self-confidence, relationship with food, energy, mindfulness, health mindset and overall life satisfaction
  • A new MSK cohort report showed significant improvements across physical and mental health outcomes and self-management skills
  • A new long-term conditions cohort report showed that over 50% of respondents had increased confidence to self-manage their conditions
  • Secured 3x new university collaboration research projects with LSBU, UCL and University of Surrey, analysing qualitative and quantitative outcomes, including health outcomes and service effectiveness in promoting behaviour change (publications in the works!)

Outputs: Introducing the new and improved Holly Health for Healthy Ageing…

Improved accessibility and usability

As a result of feedback gathered from the pilot, we’ve streamlined navigation, and improved contrasts, readability and overall user-friendliness. We’ve improved our FAQs, created user guides and introduced a new complimentary web-based service.

New community and health tracking features

Multiple new features include our community feature, where we’ve partnered with nationwide charities to increase activity and reduce isolation. Now, users over 45 years old can opt-in to receive tailored information on the benefits of engaging with their community and how to get involved. We’ve also introduced our new tracking features for health and wellbeing measures including mood, energy levels, blood pressure, HbA1c and step tracking.

Personalised older-adult coaching

We’ve added over 100  articles, habits, coaching chat flows, audio and videos tailored for healthy ageing through encouraging physical activity, mental stimulation and reducing isolation. These cover important topics requested by our older adult user groups including low-mobility seated exercise content, condition-specific coaching, women’s health and menopause/perimenopause content and inter-generational activities for the whole family.

Healthy ageing success stories:

“It has really helped me to start the habits I wanted to do for quite some time. It’s a focus to get committed and consistent with my goals. It helps me to do things for myself as I am often focusing on other people’s needs and supporting them... so, the app grounds me. It makes me feel that 'this is my time'.”

“I have joined a strength and balance class, which I probably wouldn't have done otherwise.”

“I definitely feel happier generally as a result of using the app.”

"I like the little bird... to me it’s a little friend."


We would like to take this opportunity to thank every person who gave up their time and energy to co-design ‘Holly Health for healthy ageing’ with us, and our charity partners Age UK Lewisham and Southwark.

Find out more

Chat with us at [email protected] about supporting patients with hypertension, mild-moderate anxiety/depression, type 2 diabetes, lower mobility and multi-morbidity.