The next Ready Friends Befriending Forum will focus on how technology can help reduce loneliness and social isolation.
Following the publication of the government’s Loneliness Strategy in October 2018, a new funding programme was launched to offer development funding and support to online technology that reduces loneliness and social isolation. A summary of the finalists’ projects reveals a wide variety of initiatives that will appeal to specific communities including older people, carers, young people with autism and LGBT+ people.
A digital platform developed by Suffolk Libraries that will interpret data to recommend content, experiences, activities and services that are freely available in the local community. It will connect people to convenient community-based support designed to meet their emotional needs.
A platform to help get people chatting by encouraging cafes and other venues across England to designate a Chatter & Natter table. With more than 900 cafes already established, there is potential to significantly scale up the service.
A community events calendar to help people find out about the small local events that can be hard to discover, such as coffee mornings, sewing groups, computer classes and gardening groups – which might be just around the corner
Which uses augmented reality tech to increase accessibility for a variety of settings for people on the autistic spectrum. The aim is to realistically mimic the experience of a particular situation and setting for autistic people, so they can build their confidence for real situations.
An online platform to provide safe and timely support for survivors of sexual assault, signposting to ways to seek help and links to specialised services such as trauma groups, lawyers, and sexual violence units, helping build a more connected system of support. As well as providing a safe space for survivors to share their stories, the platform will enable them to see, track, and save case information, reducing the burden of repeating information to different authorities
A simple physical kit to support people with dementia and their loved ones, that is filled with meaningful objects, music and photographs. Placing a sensor sticker on the objects in the Memory Box means they will play music, unlocking memories in a tactile way – like a personalised jukebox to reduce confusion and anxiety, and improve communication, independence and identity
An online platform from Marie Curie to bring carers together virtually in order to provide vital support and improve their health and well-being
Which uses a data system to pair isolated older people with younger flatmates, to create the best match for a long-lasting home-share
An app from The Proud Trust, which will see adult mentor volunteers support young people remotely using an app. This will be supported through a bespoke CRM System for: volunteer supervisions; young people generated school alerts for schools that need LGBT+ inclusion support, and coordinated marketing of the service through data-driven social media built into the system
Aa platform to enable older adults to stay active and improve their ability to interact with others whilst remaining independent at home. Mirthy will connect under-utilised communal space in retirement housing schemes with those looking for social clubs