Liftshare granted funding to investigate and end rural social isolation

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Liftshare has won £25,000 worth of funding to explore initiatives to end rural and social isolation faced by people across Norfolk.

The funding has been granted by innovation company Nesta through their ShareLab Fund project – financing businesses to grow evidence and understanding of how collaborative digital platforms can deliver social impact. Liftshare will now work with local Community Transport (CT) providers throughout the county on their project ‘HappyCT’ to find ways to improve on-demand transport options for those suffering from social and rural isolation, and to aim to promote available services to potential users.

Last November, Nesta research revealed an untapped market for platforms with a social purpose – nearly 45 million British adults are not aware of how sharing economy technologies can help them access social support services, or support community causes. This inspired the company to launch the ShareLab fund. Liftshare is one of eight companies to receive funding for their project.

The HappyCT project will be headed up by Liftshare’s Head of Growth, Paul Gosnell, who is now undertaking the initial research phase. Paul said: “Community Transport is a huge industry but relatively unknown to the people it can help most – the people cut off from society due to lack of or poor transport options. Combining support, awareness, and data with technology can help connect people and CT operators which is something myself and Liftshare are passionate about doing. Using technology to solve real problems. I encourage all interested parties to get in touch with me to share their ideas and opinions!”

Helen Goulden, Executive Director, Innovation Lab at Nesta, comments: “The ideas funded through ShareLab show that the collaborative economy has many practical applications beyond just finding a place to stay or getting a cab ride. We see great potential in these innovations to help alleviate some of the pressure on local governments, addressing the real needs of people, families and communities.”

Author Lex Barber

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