A befriending network, Companiions has launched to relieve loneliness in the elderly and vulnerable.
The app allows for the friends and relatives - 'organisers' - of a lonely person to arrange for a trusted, vetted companion to pop in and spend time with their loved one.
Organisers can set up a profile on the app, listing their loved ones likes and dislikes along with any health issues. A calendar is provided to specify dates and times, and then a companion is selected by the organiser, picking from profiles that detail experience levels, occupation, and skills such as first aid.
All companions on the platform are carefully vetted using some of the world’s leading AI-powered identity verification tools. Loved ones meet their prospective companions by video call initially, allowing both sides to get to know each other. Ratings and reviews allow organisers to make informed decisions and pinpoint the companions most likely to get on well with their loved one.
Organisers pay as little as £12 an hour for visits, and companions can donate any or all of their fee to charity if they wish.
The launch of Companiions comes after millions of people suffered loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a YouGov survey of over 2,000 British adults, nearly four out of five (77 per cent) people in Britain say they’ve become more aware of others’ loneliness since the pandemic began, and over two thirds (69 per cent) are now more conscious of those who require support with everyday tasks.
"Millions of ‘Sandwich generation’ parents do an amazing job every day, juggling childcare, work and looking after their own parents. But there are times when everyone needs a break. We all wish we could spend more time with our parents, and when we’re busy often feel a pang of guilt that mum or dad would really value someone to just sit and spend time with them" said CEO of Companiions, Lisa Robinson.
“Companiions can help find a trusted, vetted person who’s willing and able to spend some time with your loved one - giving them that vital human contact so many of us missed during lockdown. The enforced separation we endured during the pandemic revealed what a difference simple things, like having someone to chat to, can make. Our research shows four fifths of us are now more conscious of the loneliness of others. Companiions is on a post-lockdown mission to end loneliness by bringing easy-to-arrange, trusted, convenient companionship to every community in the UK."