For this blog, I wanted to focus on some interesting and helpful things I came across recently. None of them are particularly new but have the potential to make our lives better. They are loosely lumped into the category “Using technology to improve social connectedness”. In no particular order, here they are:

Helpfulpeeps
https://www.helpfulpeeps.com/

Helpfulpeeps describes itself as a “new community movement based on kindness”. Basically the idea is that people post requests for help and others locally help them out for free. Examples include – someone who could offer a local floristry workshop for the elderly, someone to feed a cat as a one-off or someone who could teach basic piano. The person asking may offer to gift a skill in return. For example today, someone asking for home improvement advice is offering to gift personal training sessions (they are an endurance athlete).

Sometimes others will offer help and signposting online so there isn’t any direct meet-up but the idea is that people do meet in person and help others. It’s a moderated site with ground rules – no selling, financial help, that kind of thing. The usual safeguards with meeting strangers would apply, but in its essence, I think it’s a fantastic idea. It’s also available in an app and people can opt to become Patrons where they offer a small monthly donation to keep the platform running.

Interestingly as an aside, GPs in South Birmingham can now refer patients to the Gift Exchange service https://www.healthexchange.org.uk/services/gift-exchange/ where members of the local community can get together to share their skills and support each other. If you are in South Birmingham and this would be of interest, please ask at your practice for a referral form.

Young Minds
https://youngminds.org.uk/

I was really impressed with this organisation. I found out about them yesterday when a colleague sent me a link for their “Crisis Line”. They are a charity working with young people (under 25s). They offer information about mental health, self-care and wellbeing. They also have a dedicated parents line where parents or carers can talk to an advisor. I mentioned the crisis line earlier and this is a text service where young people can text for help if they are struggling and receive urgent advice and support. Here’s the link for this service https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/get-urgent-help/

Mindbody Online
https://uk.mindbodyonline.com/get-the-mindbody-app

This is an app and a handy way to find out what’s going on in the way of fitness and wellbeing locally to you. It searches on post code and gives details of local fitness classes (in every modality you can think of) as well as beauty and wellness outlets. These might be services like nutritional and meditation classes or circus skills workshops. It’s a huge list and all in one place encouraging people to get out and meet up with others. The app also syncs with the FitBit wearable device and calculates calories burned per class. You can also pay for classes via the app and save favourite classes so that they are easier to find for next time.