NHS Southampton CCG and the city council have signed up to use the Genie on line tool for a year.

The license which includes training, and technical support will mean that volunteers from across the city can help people improve their social networks with the aim of reducing loneliness and improving people’s health.

The Genie tool has been developed over several years by a team based at the University of Southampton as part of the National Institute for Health Research (CLAHRC Wessex*).

NIHR CLAHRC Wessex is made up of a team of researchers who aim to improve the health and wealth of people in the Wessex region, but putting the best evidenced research into practice in the NHS and local community. Genie is a great example of that and the collaborations that exist between universities in the UK and abroad. Genie has been used in Canada, Norway and several european countries.

Lonely scc

In a survey of 1500 people carried out by Southampton City Council, around 40% of people asked said they experienced loneliness. Figures from Age UK suggest that for older people one-in-ten say they are chronically lonely.

Councillor Paul Lewzey, Mental Health Champion at Southampton City Council, which has just commissioned GENIE, said: “The council is working with researchers from the National Institute for Health Research based at the University of Southampton and the NHS to share a tool – GENIE – that helps people who may feel lonely and isolated to reconnect with their community. The GENIE project is a good example of the council’s and its partners working collaboratively to help our residents.

“We’d like to encourage people to volunteer with groups in their community that befriend those who may be lonely, including older people. We’ll be partnering soon with faith and community groups to help share GENIE with others.”

Please visit Southampton Volunteering Services volunteering page to learn more about how you can volunteer in your community, or contact Tom Taylor, Volunteer Development Worker, Southampton Voluntary Service: t.taylor@southamptonvs.org.uk

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