Bright Idea winner inspired by Austrian scheme

Bright Idea winner inspired by Austrian scheme

Philip Dewey

Bright Idea winner inspired by Austrian scheme

Winners of the Royal Borough Bright Idea Challenge Prize 2014 have been named. Reporter Philip Dewey spoke to the winner and runner-up about their 'light bulb moments.

A bright idea to create a surrogate grandparents scheme won the top prize for a Royal Borough competition.

Jo Hall, who lives in central Maidenhead, had her idea chosen as the winner of the council's Bright Idea Challenge Prize 2014.

The 44-year-old came up with the idea for the scheme after a similar system was used in an Austrian town where she lived for six years.

The scheme itself will match families and their children to older people who can help with childcare, provide parents with a break or act like a grandparent.

Mother-of-one Jo, who is married to Richard, said: "It's about putting people with young children who don't have grandparents with older people who don't have grandchildren.

"A lot of older people may be a bit lonely and have a lot of spare time on their hands but this scheme gives them the opportunity to share their skills with young people."

Jo Hall
Jo, who runs a greetings card and stationary business, receives a prize of £800.

She added: "It was a great surprise as I had no idea I would win. This is something that has been going round my head for a number of years but I never found an outlet for it.

"I think it's fantastic to have a council who are prepared to listen to the ideas of residents and to put the resources behind following them through."

The runner-up of the Bright Idea Challenge Prize said she was 'thrilled' her idea for children's footpaths and trails for Maidenhead parks had been chosen.

Clare Castignetti, from Belmont Drive, Maidenhead, waited a year to see if her idea had been chosen after missing the deadline for the 2013 entry.

The mother-of-four daughters and wife to Rob came up for the idea for the footpaths and trails made up of stepping stones which could be sponsored by people from Maidenhead and have their names engraved on them.

The product developer said: "I was really thrilled my idea had caught the panel's imagination and I can't wait to get started.

"I really know what children like and children love stepping stones and following trails. I just love the idea children can follow these paths and see their friend's name on a stepping stone."

Clare Castignetti
The 50-year-old hopes the trails will be in Grenfell Park, Kidwells Park and Oaken Grove Park.

Third place in the adult category came from two people independently.

Adam Turnball, who works in Maidenhead, and Susan Walker both suggested a weekly, free, 5km timed park run for runners of all abilities.

Maidenhead's Claires Court senior girls and sixth form were named winners of the contest's junior category.

Their idea was to promote cycling across the borough.

The council will now work with the school to promote more cycling  and the school will also receive a prize of £100.

Second place was an idea to install ball dispensers in parks for people who don't have their own balls. This was suggested by 13-year-old Charlotte Webster from Maidenhead, who wins £75.

The third winning junior idea was from eight-year-old Aaron Cook of Maidenhead who wants to provide more homes for wildlife in the form of bird boxes and bee/insect houses. He will get £50.

The Royal Borough competition was held for creative individuals to come up with their own 'lightbulb moment'  to help others and find innovative solutions to borough-wide problems.

It was open to people living or working in Windsor and Maidenhead.

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony held at The Firestation Centre for Arts and Culture in St Leonards Road, Windsor, on Tuesday, October 7.

Judges included Paralympian Sophie Christiansen OBE and leader of the Royal Borough, Cllr David Burbage.

The competition had a prize pot of £20,000. Once the cash prizes are deducted the leftover money will be used to help implement the ideas.

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