Space agency funding for Leeds app to tackle social isolation

AN app created to tackle social isolation and loneliness in Leeds has won backing from the European Space Agency (ESA).

Careview was commissioned by the city council, and created and developed by the Urban Sustainable Development Lab (USDL) and Public Health, to help identify people at risk of social isolation.

The app is intended to help users look for links between social isolation and what they observe as they walk down the street. By using the app, frontline teams of community development workers can flag signs of loneliness in neighbourhoods, such as post piling up or rubbish building up in gardens.

From this data, a secure heat map is drawn up that is available to all participating agencies operating across the city, including health professionals, police officers and charity workers.

The app has recently won an Innovation in TEC (Technology Enabled Care) Award for approach to tackling social isolation. The space agency funding will help to expand its use across Leeds.

Furthermore, the ESA funding will help add new functions to Careview so that outreach professionals can record their findings and actions when investigating the heat map. It will further help the app explore new geographical areas of Leeds and help identify more people in need of support.

According to the city council, the information gathered by the app to date has “dramatically increased the probability” of teams finding socially isolated people and linking them with the services that can help them.

It is estimated that, in terms of social value, the app could generate thousands of pounds worth of savings, particularly when deployed in the city’s 10% most deprived neighbourhoods.

“Social isolation is a deep-rooted problem that disconnects people from their communities, leaving them difficult to identify and reach,” said Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adults.

“Careview helps us find vulnerable people who need our support but do not access the services which could help them. From here, we can reconnect them and help them access the services they need through the existing networks we have in the city.

“I am very proud to see Leeds tackling this problem through innovation and the adoption of smart city technology, and I am excited to see the work of Careview continue to grow.”

NH

 

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