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Revealed today by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), £500,000 of funding is available for technology companies that come up with digital support solutions for people who need to stay at home because of Coronavirus.

The ‘Techforce19’ challenge aims to support those who need to stay at home for several weeks and need help. This could include people who need mental health support or who have social care needs.

With the new challenge, funding of up to £25,000 per company is available.

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The programme is looking for digital solutions that can be launched in the next few weeks. Examples range from providing remote social care – which could locate and match qualified caters to those in need – to improving mental health support – such as by making it easier to discover and deliver mental health services and support.

Other digital solutions could include developing tools to recruit, train and coordinate local volunteers into clinical and non-clinical workers or creating any solution that will ease pressure on services and people during this pandemic.

This technology will supplement existing support for those who may be most affected by staying at home for long periods of time.

The programme is being launched by NHSX and managed by PUBLIC, a GovTech venture firm. PUBLIC will not receive any payment for running this competition.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Staying at home and avoiding contact with others will be absolutely necessary in reducing the spread of this virus and ultimately it will save lives.

“However, we know isolation is not easy – especially for older people, those who live alone, have mental health problems or those who care for others. If people cannot leave the house, we need to quickly find ways to bring support to them and today I am calling on the strength of our innovative technology sector to take on this challenge.

“Techforce19 will mobilise the UK’s incredible reservoir of talent to develop simple, accessible tools that can be rolled out quickly and help tackle the effect of social isolation. I am calling on our brilliant tech sector to take on this challenge.”

For more information on the programme and how to apply, visit techforce19.uk

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