Care home group, CHD Living, is calling for fundraising support for its digital ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ scheme – which has seen over 72,000 people sign up from around the world – as it looks to establish ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ as an independent, not-for-profit organisation for public benefit, creating an app to facilitate, streamline and speed up the ‘adoption’ process.
Given the thousands of signups, the group is now looking to develop an app to help orchestrate and manage the pairing process – and, having provided seed funding to get the project this far, is now looking for public fundraising support to help get it off the ground, as it opens up the initiative to other care homes across the world.
Aimed at combating loneliness and encouraging companionship, the initiative is centered on digitally connecting the public with care home residents, helping them to form meaningful, intergenerational friendships.
The campaign devised by CHD Living, a Surrey and South London based care home group consisting of 13 residences, two specialist rehabilitation centres and a domiciliary care business, was initially launched last autumn and looked for local volunteers to physically visit the home to meet and bond with residents.
However, given the ongoing coronavirus crisis and the current restrictions on movement, the group decided to take the campaign digital – aiming to harness video technology to spread the message further and encourage connections from anywhere in the world.
The call for ‘virtual volunteers’ was met with an astonishing response, with 72,000 people signing up within 3 weeks from all over the world including from the US, Canada, Dubai, New Zealand and more – far more than the care home group could possibly look to pair up.
Shaleeza Hasham, Head of Hospitality, Communications & Commissioning at CHD Living, said: “We’ve been absolutely astounded by the sensational response to our campaign! It’s been a complete whirlwind the past few weeks, but one that’s brought in much needed positivity at an incredibly testing time for the care industry. Some of the messages we’ve been receiving have been so lovely, and we’ve been pairing up people, facilitating video calls and encouraging communication; the start of which has been extremely heart-warming.”
Shaleeza continued: “By raising the funds to develop the app, we can get people involved far more quickly, helping to ensure all of the necessary admin and safeguarding procedures are undertaken swiftly and speeding up the process of connecting those in need. Given we’re currently in the midst of combatting the coronavirus pandemic, our resources are dedicated to ensuring our homes are well equipped with everything necessary to contain the virus. Consequently, we’re asking the public for help in developing the app.”
She added: “In addition to the app, we also don’t want to restrict this initiative to just our homes. We have just over 800 care recipients, so you can appreciate 72,000 is more than enough to keep them company! Now we’d like to take the next step and embrace a larger community, connecting our wonderful volunteers with residents in other care homes that might like to partner with us on this project.”
As the campaign continues to grow, the care home group has been contemplating necessary next steps to ensure that those who have expressed an interest in the scheme can be assigned someone to keep company, and have decided to embrace technology by developing an official ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ app, which will safely pair participating care home residents with volunteers and facilitate safe video communication.
To make this happen, CHD Living is currently in the process of registering the ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ scheme with the charity commission as a social, not-for-profit enterprise, which will run independently to CHD Living. The group is asking for public support in fundraising to launch the charity, as well as for the development of the app and the forming of partnerships with other care providers, enabling as many residents as possible across the globe to participate in the programme.