AN IRISH businesswoman in London is behind a new initiative developed to support people left isolated by Covid-19.
The CoronaFriend project is aimed at connecting neighbourhoods by putting those who want to volunteer to support the vulnerable during lockdown in touch with those who are isolating nearby.
Recently launched by a group of UK tech companies, it is the brainchild of Irishwoman Orla Shields, CEO of Kamma, and Phil Hewinson, CEO of Would You Rather Be.
CoronaFriend, which the organisation explains is “designed to support the overwhelming community response to the virus”, works through the use of an interactive map of the UK, which allows individuals to take responsibility for a particular street or area of their neighbourhood.
“It provides volunteers with a simple and easy way to assist elderly and vulnerable neighbours” they add.
“By tracking activity on the CoronaFriend map, people who want to support their communities can easily identify where other volunteers are already active and, importantly, see where help is still needed. This reduces duplication of effort and ensures that no-one is overlooked in these difficult times.”
The online platform has been developed with the support of a number of companies, including Kamma, Would You Rather Be, Orange Doodle, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Ordnance Survey and Geovation, with individuals from each organisation collaborating outside of their day jobs to turn the idea into reality in less than a fortnight.
Ms Shields, a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and a member of BITA, the British Irish Trading Alliance, explained: “In the face of the appalling human cost of the COVID-19 virus, the outpouring of community support has been so inspiring, and we wanted to do what we could to help.”
She added: “I am so proud of my team for working tirelessly to use our expertise to bring structure to the massive volunteering effort, allowing volunteers to more easily provide their support where it is needed.”
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