App alerts volunteers in Leamington and Warwick

Monday 4th of May 2020 10:54 AM

An app that alerts volunteers when a nearby vulnerable person is in need of help during the Coronavirus pandemic has been made especially for a Leamington and Warwick community group.

The Covid-19 Warwick and Leamington Mutual Aid Group was set up in mid-March to deliver vital food and medicine supplies to vulnerable people throughout both towns, and after appealing for volunteers, more than 150 people signed up to help overnight.

The group now has around 370 active volunteers and carries out up to 150 weekly errands for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

To help with the logistical pressure, Leamington businessman Alan Hartin - who runs web and mobile application company Apps Plus - and his team have developed an app called “Good Egg” that will enable the group to become more efficient so it can help even more people.

The app can sort requests for help by location and need, notifying volunteers on the same street as someone who needs help. It also ensures that a volunteer with a car knows that someone in an isolated village has a prescription waiting for them.

Liz Turner, a Volunteer Coordinator and one of the key driving forces behind the Covid-19 Warwick and Leamington Mutual Aid Group, said: “The group is run by residents for residents, so co-ordinating who is doing which tasks via WhatsApp and manual spreadsheets has been testing.

“We have been overwhelmed with the generosity of those wanting to support. We have completed more than 430 food and medication deliveries since forming the group, and made more than 128 phone calls to those in need of a chat. Each and every one of our volunteers has made a difference to others in Warwick and Leamington.

“What Alan and his team have done for us as a group has been unbelievably kind. Thanks to the app, we can now have an overview in real time of what tasks have been completed, which means we can free up more time to help even more people on any given day.”

The “Good Egg” app went live at the end of April, and Apps Plus managing director Alan spoke of his pride at turning the app around so quickly for the group.

He added: “After reading their leaflet I contacted them as I could see real merit in creating a solution to manage their several hundred volunteers and tasks. They were very keen on the idea as they were then using a combination of a Google Sheet, WhatsApp group, phone calls and texting to manage and coordinate everything.

“My app development team worked really hard in their spare time over Easter to get things started. Given that the development took place over Easter, and the amazing desire of the volunteers to help others, we have called the app “Good Egg”.

“The app filters requests for assistance intelligently, ensuring that volunteers don't make too many trips to the shops in a given week and that no one is travelling further than they need to in order to offer much-needed help.

“I’m really pleased that this idea has turned into reality in such a short space of time, and I’d like to thank my team for giving up their time on a project that will no doubt make a big difference to residents across Leamington and Warwick.”

Monica Fogarty, Chief Executive of Warwickshire County Council, praised the community spirit on show across the county as a whole.

She commented: “We are currently living in what are unprecedented times when human kindness is needed the most, and I’m thrilled to see the impact that the Covid-19 Leamington and Warwick Mutual Aid Group is having, with help from Apps Plus.

“The business community is also operating under immense uncertainty, and I’d like to extend my thanks to Apps Plus and their team for throwing their support behind the Warwickshire community at this difficult time.”

For more information about the Covid-19 Leamington and Warwick Mutual Aid Group, go to the website: www.warwickleamingtoncovidhelp.co.uk

For other volunteer groups who would like to use the app, go to www.apps-plus.co.uk/goodegg 

Photo caption: Liz Turner