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The Challenge Fund Calls involve addressing challenges developed by the four local authorities engaged in the project, namely Reading Borough Council, Bracknell Forest Council, Wokingham Borough Council and West Berkshire Council. 

This first call consists of four challenges, focusing on tackling loneliness, reducing falls in the elderly, supporting independence in travel and targeting investment to improve energy efficiency in homes. Each challenge will involve a development and pilot phase so that the benefits can be evaluated and knowledge can be shared as these are common challenges faced by councils across the UK. Grants of up to £100,000 are available for each challenge. 

This is the first of two Challenge Fund Calls to be launched in 2019. These challenges are being delivered in parallel with the deployment of a LoRa LPWAN internet of things network across the four authorities. 

The aim of the Challenge Fund Calls is to grant fund innovative projects that will address the challenges set out in each Call. The challenges have been developed through a series of workshops with senior officers within the local authorities and hence identify real needs that should be met. Through funding the projects we are expecting solutions and pilots that not only address the challenges set by the local authorities but also have a strong business case for the recipient of the funding so that we are growing innovative business in Thames Valley Berkshire. 

If you are a business who is interested, the Call has been published by Reading Borough Council on the Reading Borough Council In-Tend portal under the title Thames Valley Berkshire Smart City Cluster 1st Challenge Fund Call (https://in-tendhost.co.uk/readingbc/aspx/Tenders/Current).

Companies in Swindon and Wiltshire will need to partner with a company from the Thames Valley LEP area. A list of potential partner companies is available on request from bill@thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk