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Technology too, enables a collaborative economy – a great example of this is of course AirBnB. Applying this innovation in a social context has resulted in projects like the Casserole Club founded in 2011 by FutueGov.

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Lonely? Technology can help!
Lonely? Technology can help!

Loneliness isn’t new. Eleanor Rigby as The Beatles sang, was buried with just her name at a funeral to which nobody came, back in the 1960s.

 

The question Lennon and McCartney posed ‘Lonely people – where do they all come from?’ is as pertinent today as it was back then.

 

So it’s good to see a new report published by IoTUK that explores the root causes and costs of social isolation and loneliness in the UK, and how technology could be used to help tackle this insidious problem.

 

For those in the business of working on smart cities this type of data is invaluable on so many levels. This report for example, highlights how significant vital affordable, accessible and safe transport is, and the impact it can have on social isolation and loneliness.

 

While there is a debate around the fact that despite being even more connected as a society, feelings of disconnection abound, technology can contribute massively in making and maintaining social connections, and a smart city can encourage and support initiatives to support this.

 

For example, as part of the IoTUK CityVerve project in Manchester, the city council in conjunction with partners is developing a proactive Community Wellness Platform, that aims to address health problems before they arise, as well as addressing social isolation within the community. The business case for this is strong: citizens who are healthier and feel part of a community have a better quality of life, which means far less burden for the local authority and local healthcare providers.

 

Technology too, enables a collaborative economy – a great example of this is of course AirBnB. Applying this innovation in a social context has resulted in projects like the Casserole Club founded in 2011 by FutueGov.

 

The Casserole Club connects those who love to cook and often have extra portions of home cooked food with those who aren’t able to cook for themselves. The whole service is facilitated through a websites that allows people to sign up either as cooks or diners. With the vast majority of diners over 80, the casserole club addresses elderly isolation and loneliness as well.

 

The report is well worth a read and contains some great examples of innovative interventions to this all too common human condition.

 

Melony Rocque

Editor

 

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