Data Driven Futures

Monmouthshire uses tech to tackle loneliness

Written by Peter Walker

Monmouthshire County Council has launched two projects to find solutions to loneliness and limited public transport in rural areas.

The local authority has selected the projects from five that were funded to develop concepts and work with its private sector partners as part of the GovTech Challenge to provide solutions to various social problems.

Both will receive up to £500,000 from the GovTech Catalyst fund, launched by the Cabinet Office in November 2017 to help tech firms solve public sector challenges through innovation and emerging technologies.

Box Clever Digital has proposed a digital platform named Thrive to help people in remote areas by improving transport options, promoting mobility-as-a-service through lift sharing, private hire and public transport.

The platform could provide users with information on transport, giving people a wider choice at a variety of prices. For statutory care services it could reduce costs by making people in need of support more resilient and encouraging other members of the community to help.

Connector, meanwhile, is led by the Behavioural Insights Team and aimed at increasing the council’s understanding of loneliness at local level, making it easier for people to get involved with community activities. It is based on behavioural science and will aim at tackling underlying mental and physical barriers to take part.

Councillor Sara Jones, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for social justice and community development, said: “These two innovative projects were selected among a high calibre of projects which all presented fantastic solutions to the challenge of rural isolation here in Monmouthshire.”