A team of volunteers picked up a £10,000 prize for a bright idea which they pitched – Dragon’s Den style – in Hove yesterday afternoon (Sunday 6 March).
The team, led by Sussex Police head of communications Sue George and Chief Inspector James Asser, proposed developing a mobile phone app to help keep people safe on a night out.
They won the prize at a weekend-long event called City Camp Brighton which brought together people from companies, voluntary groups and the public sector.
Their aim was to find new ways to use technology to make life better in the future for the people of Brighton and Hove.
From more than 50 original ideas, a dozen teams pitched to a panel of five judges yesterday afternoon.
The winning project – called My Urban Angel – started life as phone app that could be used as a panic alarm.
But from a preliminary pitch at Hove Town Hall on Saturday until yesterday afternoon, a team which included Brighton Housing Trust chief executive Andy Winter built the idea into a broader tool.
The team also included Nick Hibberd and Ododo Dafe from the housing department at Brighton and Hove City Council.
In the winning presentation Chief Inspector Asser said that 214 sexual offences were reported in Brighton and Hove last year, 1,200 violent crimes and 2,000 drink-related admissions to A&E.
The My Urban Angel app would be targeted at young people but available for people of all ages.
It is intended to help them stay safe on a night out by keeping them connected to friends and family.
Those using it will be able to
- Set up friends and family contacts before going on a night out
- Find friends if they get split up
- Alert a friend to unwanted activity at the bar
- Set a safe meeting point and agree check-in times
- Press a panic button
- Link nights out with Facebook friends and share information with them
- Find safe areas within the city
- Find safe people such as the street pastors in West Street
The £10,000 prize will be used to help bring the idea to life and will come with mentoring and advice from experts in digital development.
The prize money was put up by the Aldridge Foundation, which was set up by millionaire businessman Rod Aldridge, who comes from Portslade.
Mr Winter said on his blog: “In Brighton and Hove there are 250,000 residents, 12,000 students, and eight million visitors each year.
“The potential of this app is huge.
“I feel incredibly proud to have been part of the team that evolved the concept and successfully presented it to the judging panel.
“And I am really excited that the panel decided to invest £10,000 in developing this idea so that it becomes a reality.
“City Camp Brighton was an amazing three days.
“Thanks to the organisers for an inspiring, exhausting yet energising event.”