Help Close By - Groups, Foodbanks and Organisations wanted for Birmingham testing


Help Close By

Help Close By is a new charitable organisation, originating in Birmingham, that looks to help connect up people in need with the wide range of foodbanks, faith groups, mutual aid groups and other organisations through advanced technology. Our biggest worry is that despite the supreme efforts to get help out to people, there are still people falling through the gaps, and we'd like to propose a joined-up effort so it becomes easier for people to get the help they need. Whilst the Covid-19 may be the trigger for this now, there are many challenges we can tackle together that will continue on, even after lockdown.

We will supply such groups with easy to use apps and software that can take in requests from end-users either by a smartphone app or entry on an application we can supply to those with hotlines. A request will go to the nearest organisation best placed to help. Should a foodbank run out of food, this request can be rerouted to one that is able to meet the user's dietary needs and alert people to the fact that the food bank is in need of resupply. Requests can be made to repeat, and these too may be sent out to the organisation able to help at that moment. We are aware that many new organisations are having to rely on spreadsheets and do huge amounts of administration in order to get aid to those who need it. We hope to radically speed up this aspect of aid delivery and free up groups to do more of their vital tasks.

Safeguarding is our top priority. Whilst there are many amazing groups out there, there are many cases where vulnerable people are targeted by people posing as help. Rather than making our system and apps widely available for volunteers we will be putting this into the hands of groups with good safeguarding plans in place and encouraging those wanting to volunteer to join up with their local groups and organisations. Once enough groups are in the area we will use extremely localised publicity methods to inform people in the area to use the system if they need help.

We are looking to launch in a number of areas in Birmingham first and especially with groups preparing or delivering food parcels. Foodbanks, faith groups, mutual aid groups and other charities currently looking to do this work and wanting to be more interconnected in a realtime fashion are encouraged to go to our website to sign up to our contact list and we'll be getting in touch over the course of the next week. Our app is built but is being updated based on conversations in our communities and could be ready in one to two weeks time. We would love Birmingham to be the place this is first used. Our website is