As we head into a second lockdown our app is ready and waiting to support local groups, charities and food banks with the task of coordinating much needed aid for communities reeling from the impact of Covid-19. Help Close By is a registered charity that will be using technology and community networks to fight poverty.
We are starting off with a number of areas of Birmingham before rolling out to other areas of need, and eventually across the country. We have local charities already testing the app and are in the process of checking and onboarding others to make sure they are part of a safe network of providers.
The app is used by both people asking for help, or people delivering it. There is an interface for support workers to help people without phones link up with the many fragmented groups and services out there. The app is available in a range of languages which we hope to expand on.
To date we have been entirely volunteer run and do not employ any staff. We have been gifted time by real experts, from programmers and translators, to former benefits advisers and copywriters, to mention just some of the brilliant people working on this. We have done everything we can to ask for help and have been very lucky with the response. We are now getting ready to launch and the costs that have been covered by a willing few of us. These are now likely to be more than a few people can carry on their own. The costs we are asking to cover are essential - we will need to cover increased server capacity and publicity materials which have been translated into all the languages the app currently supports. Our print media campaign will help support those people not currently connected to the internet, as can be expected for those in extreme poverty. We have a small team of research volunteers making sure none of these go to waste and that we engage only put these up in areas of absolute need. We are inclusive of the charities and groups we work with and want their names and details printed up on these. We listen to their feedback and have adapted many times during our testing phase to better accommodate the organisations we seek to support.
As these things go, we are not an expensive charity to run, however the potential to eventually reach thousands of people is already built into our system. Although we were born at the start of the first lockdown, we will be sticking around to support those facing poverty for the long term but we must act now for the situation before us. We are ready to help, we just need your help as we make our first big push to brace our communities.
See a demo of our food request here*:
*We're adding a hot meal category before we go live, we will also add other categories that aim to tackle poverty and other needs as we are able.
Registered Charity Number 1190642
More information on http://www.HelpCloseBy.org