Monmouthshire council is using tech to tackle isolation and loneliness

Five technology companies have been awarded UK Government contracts to tackle rural isolation and isolation in Monmouthshire.

They’ll create new technology platforms that’ll not only help people access transport in rural areas, but also eradicate digital exclusion among vulnerable populations.

Speaking at the Digital Leaders Innovation Conference in London, Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden said: “I am delighted that our funding for innovative tech companies is helping to tackle loneliness and rural isolation – to improve people’s lives and enable them to feel a part of their local community.

“The GovTech fund encourages firms to find innovative ways to address the big social problems we all face, including loneliness, plastic pollution and national security.

“Through emerging technologies, this fund will help to elevate British companies onto a global market while transforming the delivery of public services for people across the UK.”

This funding comes from the £20 million Govtech Catalyst Programme, which supports businesses solving public-sector challenges with innovation and emerging technology. Sixty-five percent of applications have been from Welsh and UK-wide SMEs

Councillor Sara Jones, cabinet member for social justice and community development at Monmouthshire County Council, said: “In Monmouthshire, we are blessed with beautiful, rural surroundings and thriving towns.

“Yet the diversity of our landscape has its challenges, where journey times on public transport to local services can exceed two hours. That is why we are determined to address this issue to ensure people feel connected and part of the community.

“We are delighted to be working with innovative businesses who have developed a range of digital solutions for transport and rural isolation. Given the importance of the small business sector to the fabric of our country, it was great to see that sixty-five percent of the applications were from Welsh and UK-wide micro businesses with less than 10 employees.”

Image credit: Keith Moseley