Just like everyone else in business, we live in a local community and when we knew that there was going to be a lockdown coming, we recognised that there were major problems in communities offering to help support their neighbours.
Most local groups were trying to use technology, but generally relying on Facebook or WhatsApp, with these associated problems:
On top of all of this was the knowledge that the most vulnerable category, the elderly, were least likely to be users of Facebook or WhatsApp.
We saw a microcosm of this issue in our local area and whilst scrolling our local Facebook Group, on a Monday evening in March, we reached out to the Admin.
We knew there were tools in use which could solve these problems, and also provide these further benefits:
When it came to matching, only when a one-to-one named match had occurred would the two parties (who had both shared their full contact details, including addresses and consented to the process) be introduced individually to each other.
By using selected cloud software, this could all be managed by a small number of selected admins who were DBS checked and verified.
So, for this project, we chose three enterprise-level solutions from well-established enterprise technology companies:
Better still, we knew that this could be set up and launched by anyone with reasonable technical knowledge. You do not need to be a programmer, you just can follow the instructions, which is why we created this page.
We got the proof of concept working within a couple of days, launched the system to helpers two days later, and received our first request for help within a week.
Since then, these things have happened:
Our solution is now live in three different communities in England, being tested in two others… so far! Are you still interested? Read on…
So, first thing first, you should read this: Community Coronavirus Support Toolkit (PDF)
If that makes sense to you, great. If not, find someone who understands it, and then you can, really quickly, set up a demo and test it.
If it works for you, we then have a range of templates for you to get started. These can also be opened in Google Docs and other Open Office formats. In these documents we cover:
You can download these here: Coronavirus Templates for Users of Our System (Word Docs)
Please share, and use. We see this as a simple safety net for any community that wants to give their residents the ability to request and receive help as efficiently as possible.