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Government Calls on Digital Innovators To Help Combat Social Isolation

(Adobe Stock image)

A £500,000 fund has been made available to innovators who can provide much needed solutions to help those in isolation suffering from loneliness and mental health issues.

Specifically, the government is looking for digital solutions that can be launched in the next few weeks, and can;

  • Provide remote social care – for example, by locating and matching qualified carers to those in need.
  • Optimise the volunteer sector – for example, by developing tools to recruit, train and coordinate local volunteers into clinical and non-clinical workers.
  • Improve mental health support – for example, by making it easier to discover and deliver mental health services and support.
  • Any other solutions to ease pressures on services and people during this time.

The Techforce19 challenge will allow companies to bid for up to £25,000 each. But they must have their digital ideas ready to go within a few weeks.

Commenting, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“Staying at home and avoiding contact with others will be absolutely necessary in reducing the spread of this virus and ultimately it will save lives.

“However, we know  isolation is not easy – especially for older people, those who live alone, have mental health problems or those who care for others.

|If people cannot leave the house, we need to quickly find ways to bring support to them and today I am calling on the strength of our innovative technology sector to take on this challenge.

“Techforce19 will mobilise the UK’s incredible reservoir of talent to develop simple, accessible tools that can be rolled out quickly and help tackle the effect of social isolation.

“I am calling on our brilliant tech sector to take on this challenge.”

“The programme is being launched by NHSX to supplement existing support for those who have been asked to stay at home for 12 weeks, due to risk of having serious complications from Covid-19.

“Those aged 70 or over, people with underlying medical conditions or pregnant women have been strongly advised by the government to minimise social interaction in efforts to contain the spread of the virus.