ommunities in Greater Manchester are now benefitting from a new app set up to help match volunteers with vulnerable people in need of support during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The app has been developed in response to the ongoing need for volunteers to support our most vulnerable citizens in essential tasks including food shopping and collecting medicines.
As the increase in humanitarian need across our communities continues, there has been a heightened requirement to simplify the process of coordinating volunteer activity for councils and community hubs allocating tasks. The application helps understand need and demand more clearly and appropriately and helps effectively match volunteers with requests received.
The Community Hub Application which is now being used in Bury and Rochdale, provides a platform that all parties involved in logging, assigning and volunteering can access, helping to coordinate contact between centres, Hub Managers and volunteers. The application also helps to collect the required information to match appropriate support to citizens and their needs.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Across Greater Manchester we have been overwhelmed with the community response to this pandemic.
“The number of individuals that continue to volunteer their valuable time to support the most vulnerable amongst us is humbling and demonstrates how our communities rally together in times of need. This community hub application has been developed to help manage the increase in volunteering and ensure effective coordination of volunteers to make sure timely support can be provided where it is needed most.”
The application has been launched in Rochdale this week, Councillor Daalat Ali, deputy leader and cabinet member for resources at Rochdale Borough Council said: “It has been pleasing to see such strong support from our communities during the pandemic and I welcome this new digital platform that will provide timely access to the right information when it is most needed. Volunteers provide a lifeline to so many residents and making sure they are working as effectively as possible has never been so vital.”
The application, which was developed by Bury Council with ANS and Microsoft with support from the GMCA, has a data dashboard functionality providing local councils using it with access to invaluable insight into volunteer deployment, the pace of activity and changes in demand from citizens, to help improve decision making locally.
Programme Manager, Nicky Parker from Bury Council said: “It has replaced the need for manual spreadsheets and lots of pieces of paper and enables the Hub staff to track progress with a job. We can see how many jobs are completed or outstanding and look at the volume of requests across Bury. It also helps us to match volunteers with residents on a repeat basis so that new relationships can strengthen. We are developing new ideas all the time about how we can add more functions to the app as the nature of support from the community hubs changes over time and into the future.”
The Community Hub Application is hosted on Greater Manchester’s Digital Platform, an advanced technology solution that allows data from multiple sources to be re-used by a variety of systems, allowing health and public sector professionals to use and share accurate and appropriate information at a quicker pace.
The Greater Manchester Digital Platform was created to ensure that professionals supporting residents have the right information, at the right time and in the right way. Reporting of this kind is has been developed by The Greater Manchester Combined Authority and GMHSCP to support the transformation and digitisation of public services. The Digital Platform provides the infrastructure that can be rapidly adopted in other priority areas offering an exciting opportunity for this application to be rolled out across the city-region.
The Greater Manchester Digital Platform also holds a series of other applications developed to support health and public sector professionals. The Greater Manchester Situation Reporting System, which sits on the platform, was developed to monitor PPE levels, death figures, infection rates and outbreaks during Covid-19 to identify early signs of instability in adult social care settings to ensure swift action can be taken.
You can find out more about the Greater Manchester Digital Platform by visiting: https://www.greatermanchester-