More than £600,000 in grants from Tech for Good fund given to charities

Thirteen projects that are exploring new approaches to improving people's lives through technology have been given grants of between £42,000 and £47,000

Grants totalling more than £600,000 have been awarded to 13 not-for-profit organisations from the Tech for Good fund run by Comic Relief and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Recipients of the grants, which range between £42,000 and £47,000, include The Children's Society, the mental health, drug and alcohol charity Addaction and the suicide prevention charity Samaritans.

Funding has been given to explore new approaches to improve people’s lives through technology and help organisations develop their own capabilities through viable and sustainable digital products. The projects will begin next month and last for nine months.

Cassie Robinson, co-founder of Tech For Good Global, said: "This is an ambitious programme. Tech for Good not only helps charities adapt to a more complex and digital world, but also improves people’s lives. Importantly, it also strengthens the whole sector to respond more collectively to some of the large-scale social challenges we face."

The 13 recipients of the grants and their projects:

Addaction will develop its online support service for drug and alcohol recovery and mental health through the implementation of a chatbot to work as a screening tool in busy times, a point of contact out of hours and a referral service.

The Children’s Society will conceptualise and test the potential of virtual reality tech to support children and young people’s mental health. Through the creation of fully immersive, interactive 360-degree videos, delivered through low-cost headsets, they will support children and young people to better engage, experience and grow confident in some of the most common scenarios that cause anxiety and unhappiness.

The Developer Society and Disrupt Disability will build an online wheelchair-fitting platform to disrupt the market and give users more control over the fit and design of their wheelchairs.

Turn2Us, which is run by Elizabeth Finn Care, will create an app that matches people based on their benefit calculations and locations, with trained volunteers who can give support throughout the benefits claiming process to increase the numbers of successful benefits claims made.

The Open Voice Factory, the flagship project for eQuality Time, provides free speech-aid software by converting communication boards into communication devices. Anyone can create an aid by editing and uploading a template because it's connected to the internet. An offline version of this will be created in a mobile app.

Hestia Housing & Support will develop an app to provide information for perpetrators of domestic abuse, those who feel they might become perpetrators and anyone supporting them or aware of this risk, with the aim of reducing instances of domestic abuse.

Hope Support Services will scale up its online support for young people when a close family member is diagnosed with a serious illness. A platform will be created where young people can access safe and secure peer support, including group chats and one-to-one mentoring.

The community interest company Playphysio has created a medical attachment that, when attached to therapeutic devices used by people living with cystic fibrosis, allows them to gamify their daily treatment. This improves compliance and gives health practitioners caring for them insight through data collected during this app-integrated physiotherapy.

Samaritans will develop a surge notification system, using historical and real-time data to predict demand for the listening service and accurately identify how many volunteers are needed and when.

Spice Innovations will develop "Time Credits in a Box"; an online tool that enables communities and small organisations to get involved in Spice’s time credits with less direct staff support, and therefore at a lower cost, thereby giving control to local communities to unlock their own potential.

Building on the success of its NHS-accredited "Calm Harm" app, which helps teenagers manage the urge to self-harm, STEM4 will develop an app to support teenagers who have anxiety, particularly during the gap between being referred to services and the support starting.

Building on the success of its website, Medicines for Children, WellChild will create a Medicines for Children app, providing a complete medicines management tool for families, tailored to each individual’s circumstances.

WESC Foundation will create a point of sale "speaking shop till" that is totally audio descriptive, from initiating a transaction to the transaction being completed. The objective of the speaking till is to facilitate the employment of severely visually impaired and blind till operators to enable them to be fully effective staff members.

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