#GoodNewsCymru | Social enterprise

Innovate Trust develops community app to keep people connected

Innovate Trust is a supported living provider that is using technology to digitally transform their services for good.

By Mike Erskine · 14 May 2020

See this page in: Cymraeg

Innovate Trust supports arounds 400 adults with learning disabilities in and around Cardiff, the Vale of Glamorgan and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

In 2019, they won the ‘Tech for Good’ category at the Social Business Wales Awards for promoting independence and wellbeing of the individuals they support through SMART technology, such as installing Amazon Alexa devices in their homes.

They have now conceived, developed and created a community-based app called Insight which provides an online space that is both safe and fully accessible for adults with learning disabilities, and mitigates the common social media risks, such as cyberbullying and trolling.

The app was first developed and trialled with a group of users last year, but it’s only now that they’re really seeing the full benefit of the app to the individuals who are using it.

Insight is available to download on all iOS and Android devices. The organisation also gifted a form of the technology to all the people it supports, who wanted to join the app.

The overall response, however, has been incredible. With 300 new registrations in the last week alone, Insight has increased levels of engagement and communication between the Innovate Trust, the individuals the organisation supports and families.

It includes everything from a wider community group where individuals can communicate with each other and share how they are spending their time in lockdown, to a private digital diary for each user that can only be seen by those who have been granted access, such as close friends, family and support workers.

The team at the Innovate Trust with the support of Skills and Volunteering Cymru have also been sharing weekly challenges, positive stories, news and daily activities through the app to keep up morale, physical and mental wellbeing, during this time.

Some of these daily activities include yoga sessions, Tai Chi and music classes. The benefits of having the app means that users can be notified through push notifications straight to their device so they can still participate in these activities that would have been part of their usual routine and maintain some sense of normality.

To make it as accessible and inclusive as possible, the app also has a biometric fingerprint login as well as an ideas page where individuals can feed in with suggestions of what they would like to see on it going forward so that it accommodates to all of its users’ interests.

Insight is making a real difference to so many lives. Opening up a whole new level of engagement for the people using the app. It has been really positive and vital during this challenging time, motivating people to participate, keep active and maintain contact with their family and friends.

In the future, we don’t see the app going away. We’d like to see more organisations coming onboard and joining the app to build a stronger network, making Insight even more inclusive and providing more opportunities for supported people. It is a very effective communication tool and is able to be used, as agreed by each individual, both within Innovate Trust and externally by related professionals; ensuring expediency, transparency and consistency in service delivery.

Ashley Bale, Digital Inclusion & Innovations Manager at Innovate Trust

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