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.
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: email@example.com
We are spreading the word about Genie, and holding a training session in Southampton today (7 June 2017) for people who want to use it in the local community.
The researchers behind the online tool are showing how it can be used to help people with a long term health condition to develop their social networks to maintain better health and quality of life.
Research conducted by NIHR CLAHRC Wessex has show that people with a more diverse social network tend to stay healthier for longer and are less reliant on their local NHS. It benefits them, but also helps the NHS by empowering someone with a long term condition to make choices about their lifestyle.
This training session for volunteers, council workers and charity workers should help the gradual take up of Genie in a number of places within the Wessex region, with benefits to the local community.
If you would like to know more about how Genie works take a look at our brief video. If you would like to use Genie or arrange training just get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
A new computer program that helps people improve their wellbeing in an innovative way has been launched in Hampshire.
Genie has been in development over a number of years by academics, clinicians and software developers based at the University of Southampton.
“I grew up in a very close knit community of maybe 20,000 people on the island of Anguilla. I was well supported as a young carer, everybody knows everybody. I could come to university and my sister was able to as well, because the community helped us care for mum. Even school friends of my mum who hadn’t met me would offer to help us”