This we like, this is brilliant thinking; Jonathon Valentine, (pictured below) CTO at insurtech ThingCo has launched The Helping Hand Project to provide a secure way of connecting those in isolation with volunteer groups/foodbanks/take-away services who can help.
The service initially started in Newcastle, but is now being rolled out across the UK, with Wolverhampton launching this week. Elderly or those in self-isolation simply text the word ‘hand’ to 07723496916 to register. They will then be sent a link to view a growing list of local support services.
Jonathon Valentine came up with idea of the Helping Hand Project because he was concerned social media groups were too insecure, and could be seen as a shopping list for thieves. Using the technology from ThingCo’s platform, he created the textbot and the secure Helping Hands website and platform where only authorised users can access a list and map of local support services.
Jonathon said: “It is early days but the response has been fantastic. We’ve got several partners onboard now and we’re launching consumer outreach programmes this week. I’ve had an MP reach out and is now connecting me to their Director of Public Health this week about the scheme. In addition, the Department of International Trade North East has reached out given their involvement with the food industry.
Restaurants have been in touch and Lea Hodson from RS Connect has offered his fleet of 300 drivers and vans for to help with deliveries across the UK. I am also keen to link with local and national mental health charities to provide support, books and conversation to those in need who’ve lost their connection with the outside world and can’t Skype or Facetime.”
“This started as a local project to help the older and more vulnerable people in Newcastle, where ThingCo’s IT centre is based, but Covid-19 has turned the initiative into a far more urgent and vital service. I am sure this is just one of many examples of how people and businesses in data and technology are applying their expertise to help people in need at this extraordinary time.”