The Wokingham Paper

Barkham company launches UK help network for Covid-19 support

A NEW service has been launched by local company, LetsLocalise to support communities across the country during the pandemic.

Inspired to make a real difference to key worker’s lives after clapping in appreciation one Thursday night, Kerry Lomax came up with a plan.

Aiming to connect a network of able and willing volunteers to those in need of support, she approached Barkham-based company LetsLocalise — who created a social initiative for local communities to support state schools.

Together, they created a platform called Helping Hand, which connects people who live in the same neighbourhood.

The aim is that anyone who needs support can log their need, and anyone offering support can do the same.

Then, people are connected based on their postcode.

Mrs Lomax said: “I felt that I was just standing there clapping, but who’s benefit? I wasn’t actually doing anything. I was frustrated and I wanted to offer real help to the key workers who are helping all of us.

“I approached LetsLocalise as they’re involved with my son’s school, The Forest and are very good at engaging with the local community.

“But I was worried that by launching something on my own, I would have to tackle all sorts of GDPR and safeguarding issues.

“But they’re already established as a platform, and have solved issues like those.”

LetsLocalise
The LetsLocalise Helping Hand app

In order to keep people using the platform safe, all users are verified instantly using the electoral roll. But if they’re not registered there, the company can send another method of verification via post.

“At the same time I was coming up with the idea to help key workers, LetsLocalise were thinking about expanding their platform to help vulnerable people in the community,” said Mrs Lomax. “They saw the potential in the idea, and they’ve just been fantastic.” 

Although people across the Wokingham borough are being well supported by the One Front Door system — run by multiple charities and the council — the aim is to provide a service to anyone across the UK who does not yet have access to a
similar system.

Mrs Lomax added: “It doesn’t matter where you are in the country, because it works with postcodes. Now, people from everywhere in the UK can find and get the support they need.

“And places like the Wokingham Community Hub, and the charities offering help can all put themselves onto the platform too.”

And since its launch on Tuesday, May 5, there have been 120 sign ups.

LetsLocalise co-founder, Gaurav Garg said: “The feedback has been excellent so far. We are now working on more modifications to change the radius of help.

“But much like a mobile phone, with only one user it is useless. The more people that use it the more powerful it becomes.”

The system is also proving useful for anyone who needs to log their volunteering as part of an award.

Mrs Lomax added: “My son is doing his Duke of Edinburgh award, but at the moment there are a lack of volunteering opportunities for obvious reasons.

“But you can register as a volunteer on LetsLocalise, and they can run a background report on your activity to create evidence to submit for awards like these. That was just an added bonus.”

For more information, visit: www.letslocalise.co.uk/

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