Using digital technology to get people involved in social action
Beyond Boundaries, by Body & Soul
Body & Soul provides peer mentoring and professional support for young people and families with HIV.
Its latest project, Beyond Boundaries (BB), uses existing free and accessible technologies (such as Skype) to create an independent remote network for young people with HIV. The platform will allow young people living with HIV to access online materials designed by peers, to connect with a trained peer mentor who has gone through a similar experience to them, and to contact professional councillors and social workers. The idea is based on their long-running face to face peer mentoring programme which has excellent impact data.
In November 2014, Body and Soul was awarded £83,388 (including £15,000 for evaluation) to replicate this approach with young people online. Specifically they will offer 500 young people with HIV peer mentoring, counselling, life coaching and advocacy, wherever they are, through the platform.
d2 Digital by Design Ltd
d2 Digital by Design Ltd is rolling out a new digital approach to supporting behaviour change in those who need to change their alcohol drinking patterns.
The Alcohol Relapse Prevention Programme provides an immediate support system for people completing a programme of treatment and support. When someone leaves rehab they sign up for daily text messages of encouragement to stick to their plans and goals. Depending on their response to these texts, they will receive a personalised motivational response or a call from a professional or peer. Early evidence shows that this increases engagement and improves recovery.
In November 2014, d2 Digital by Design Ltd was awarded £132,248 (including £10,000 for evaluation) to build and trial a peer mentoring function into the existing platform to offer volunteer peer support SMS messages from patients who have successfully changed their alcohol consumption. Through the project it aims to recruit around 70 volunteers to work with 500 service users of established substance misuse services - Inspire in East Lancashire and West Kent Recovery Service.
Get Connected is the UK’s helpline for under-25s who need help but don’t know where to turn.
In 2013/14 it helped 21,000 young people a year through one-to-one support via phone, email, SMS and webchat, and a further 130,000 access its online help service WebHelp 24/7 and its new app.
Get Connected is staffed by a group of dedicated volunteers that currently travel into its office in central London. The organisation wanted to make it possible for more people to be able to volunteer, so it has been piloting remote volunteers – known as ‘digital connectors’. The scheme has been very popular with volunteers giving time from their own homes to ‘staff’ webchat, email and SMS channels on Get Connected’s website.
In November2014, Get Connected was awarded £184,046 (including £10,000 for evaluation) to recruit, train and deploy 126 digital connectors or remote volunteers, develop a new database to support them and further develop the volunteer area of the existing website. This will lead to an additional 9,000 young people being helped each year – a 42 per cent increase in scale.
Big PD by uMotif Limited
Big PD pioneers a new form of social action – the collection and donation of data by patients and the public, to improve treatment and self-care for Parkinson’s Disease.
Big PD will recruit 25,000 people in the UK (and 100,000 globally) to record their health data via smartphones or other wearable technology such as fitness trackers, in order to improve self-care and treatment for Parkinson's Disease. The data will help build a unique research database to find new ways of helping patients self-manage their condition including the potential to let them know if they should change the timings of their medication. The database will also help clinicians make better decisions, together with their patients, on the basis of richer data.
The project, led by uMotif, will also demonstrate a new form of social action at scale – people donating their own health data as a service to their community in the hope of improving the lives of those who share their condition.
In November 2014, uMotif was awarded £150,000 to start the project on its unique software platform. uMotif will sign up 10,000 patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and 15,000 volunteers without Parkinson’s to act as a ‘control group’, to record their own health data.
London Ambulance Service
The London Ambulance Service is developing a smartphone app that connects people with first-aid skills to emergency situations in their vicinity.
The London Ambulance Service currently trains thousands of volunteer first aiders to give life-saving support. But most first aiders can only help in a crisis if they happen upon an incident.
To connect more volunteer first aiders with people needing lifesaving support, the London Ambulance Service will develop a smartphone app that connects people with first-aid skills to emergency situations in their vicinity. The app will be made available to members of the public that are trained through LAS’s Heartstart programme, as well as off-duty NHS, police and fire service personnel.
And it’s not hard to imagine how many lives it will save. If you go into cardiac arrest you are 60 per cent more likely to survive if you are given early CPR and are shocked with a de-fib machine (AED) within five minutes. The London Ambulance Service aims to get to all such incidents within eight minutes. If a nearby first-aider could give lifesaving support before the ambulance arrives then far more Londoners are likely to survive a heart attack.
In October 2014, London Ambulance Service was awarded £120,000 (including £20,000 for evaluation) to develop and test the app, helping to mobilise more than 20,000 volunteers across London to respond to life threatening emergencies alongside an ambulance.
A social network aiming to tackle the global youth mental health crisis.
Talklife is a mobile platform that aims to tackle the global youth mental health crisis. It is a social network where young people aged 16 to 24 can post anything about their lives, and receive encouragement and support from their peers.
Talklife has organically grown into a community of 90,000 users in over 120 countries. It is available on iOS and Android andis one of the highest ranking apps on Google Play and Apple’s App Store for the search terms ‘suicide’ and ‘self-harm’.
In October 2014, TalkLife was awarded £99,500 (including £45,000 for evaluation) to significantly grow its user-base in England to 350,000 by the end of 2015.