Bupa UK Foundation: Using digital to make a difference

Published by Tina Gwynne-Evans
Head of the Bupa UK Foundation

05 September 2019 . United Kingdom

Tina Gwynne-Evans, Head of the Bupa UK Foundation, talks about how charities are harnessing digital to improve health and wellbeing.

UK Foundation Using Digital

Charities are increasingly looking at digital transformation to develop better services, save money and time, train their people,engage volunteers, and get more from their data to make an impact (Charity Digital Skills Report 2019)

The Bupa UK Foundation1 has awarded several grants, which have enabled charities to harness digital to support and improve people’s health and wellbeing. Here are three great examples:

Helping young adults manage their asthma effectively

Asthma UK has developed a non-emergency WhatsApp service to help young adults to manage their asthma.

Asthma UK

In 2017, a grant from the Bupa UK Foundation enabled Asthma UK to pilot the new service, testing how to  engage and support young adults by delivering health information and advice through WhatsApp. The pilot exceeded expectations, with results showing 93% of users felt better able to manage their asthma, 69% felt more confident managing their asthma symptoms and attacks and 40% of users will change the way they manage their asthma. Following the success of the pilot, Asthma UK has received a further grant from the Bupa UK Foundation to develop and extend the service.

Providing carers with personalised information, advice and support

Carers UK delivers a wide range of personalised information and advice for carers online and also generates additional income for the charity by providing Digital Resources for Carers on subscription to companies and to local authorities.

Carers UK

In 2016 funding from the Bupa UK Foundation enabled Carers UK to evaluate the health impact of their digital resources for carers, in turn strengthening the proposition presented to organsiations using the platform. In 2018 the Bupa UK Foundation awarded Carers UK an additional grant to develop their online support further by creating two new e-learning modules offering carers practical advice on physical and mental wellbeing.

Improving access to therapy within the deaf community

Technology is also being used to support and improve mental health within the Deaf community. With funding from the Bupa UK Foundation, SignHealth has improved its therapy services in British Sign Language (BSL). Now, therapy services can be accessed by Deaf people via computer, tablet or phone, enabling them to communicate with a therapist in sign language via a visual screen.


Created using SignHealth’s existing platform, the new service allows people to access six weekly online CBT sessions, with additional one-to-one sessions with an online British Sign Language therapist.

Gareth Griffiths, Service Manager, SignHealth, said:

“Our online counselling programme has achieved excellent results with recovery rates exceeding the national average. Effectiveness is reflected not just in the statistics, but in the personal stories of those we have supported and whose lives we have been able to transform.

One man referred to SignHealth for depression struggled to attend face-to-face sessions, but did not miss a single online session. He became socially active and began looking for work. He had previously felt quite isolated, but following online therapy travelled more locally, enjoying hiking and taking photographs.

1The Bupa UK Foundation funds practical projects that will make a direct impact on people's health and wellbeing. Since 2015 the Bupa UK Foundation has awarded over £2.7 million in grants to more than 70 projects across the UK to improve people’s mental health, support carers and empower young adults living with ongoing health challenges to live life to the full.

Tina Gwynne-Evans

Head of the Bupa UK Foundation

More about this author