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onHand Pilot Study - Do you need help with everyday tasks?

Take part in the trial of onHand in Newcastle, revolutionising the care and volunteering industries.

  • Public/Patient Representative
  • Influence


onHand matches people who need help with everyday tasks with vetted volunteers who are able to help. onHand is revolutionising volunteering and has been used to coordinate COVID-19 volunteer efforts across London where they have delivered 1000s of hours of help with tasks such as shopping, medication collection, and companionship calls. Through their app-based platform, onHand vet volunteers through an automated ID and DBS check, match local volunteers with older adults, and track all activity.

Right now, onHand operates in London only, but are hoping to expand across the UK. They are running a pilot of their flexible and easy volunteering service in Newcastle. We are working with Newcastle Building Society as part of the trial, and around 100 of their employees will become volunteers.

We are looking for users who will try the onHand service and provide any thoughts and feedback you may have before and after you have tried it to understand your needs and interest.

Volunteer Criteria

If you would benefit from help with tasks such as shopping, medication collection, would like to receive companionship calls, we invite you to take part in the trial.

You must also be aged over 55 and live in Newcastle upon Tyne.

What will I be asked to do?

If you are interested in trialing this service, register for this opportunity and we will send further instructions on how to do so. Please also register if you know someone who would benefit from the service.

The trial period will last for 6 weeks, you can use the service as much or as little as you like during this time. The service will be free of charge (other than the cost of your shopping for example).

Types of requests volunteers can help with:

  • Shopping drop off
  • Medication drop off
  • Errands
  • Companionship phone call
  • Please note this does not include personal care

You can request for volunteers to help:

  • as a one off
  • Daily
  • Twice weekly
  • Weekly
  • Twice Monthly
  • Monthly

You will be sent an online survey to complete at the beginning and end of the 6 week period, to provide some feedback on your experience. You will also be invited to join an online workshop after the 6 weeks to discuss your experience in more detail. Your feedback will help shape the future of the service.

When and where?

The trial will take place in Newcastle upon Tyne during July and August.

onHand Pilot Study - Do you need help with everyday tasks? Discussion

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  • andyjones64
    8 hours ago

    Hi Meera - do you have enough people yet for the pilot or are you looking for more?

    Best wishes


    VOICE Head Office
    4 hours ago

    Hi Andy, Yes the pilot is running throughout July and August, so please do register if you are interested!

    Meera Vijayaraghavan
    4 hours ago

    Hi Andy, like the VOICE Head Office said this opportunity is still open and we are looking for people to take part. Please share the details with your Newcastle based friends, family and neighbours!

  • Bernie Wright
    25th June 2020

    Hello Meera, I realise this is a pilot study, but the choice of requests for users to select is rather limited. They would seem to be appropriate for those remaining in COVID Shielding lockdown, but from 16 July and 6 August 2020 their restrictions will also be lifted to 'normality'.

    From the Overview gardening picture above, will onHand offer a similar wider choice for users at a later date (not including personal care) which would require some volunteer skills/abilities?

    Meera Vijayaraghavan
    26th June 2020

    Hi Bernie,

    Thanks for your comment. The list above is an indication of what volunteers can do and is by no means comprehensive. onHand's type of requests changed in response to COVID-19 and will do doubt change in response to the lifting of restrictions. As we progress with the pilot, we will be taking into account the changing restrictions and adapt the type of requests accordingly. I think to begin with we will err on the side of caution to make sure everyone is comfortable and after receiving feedback look into expanding the type of requests.

    Kind regards,


  • Ian Fairclough
    23rd June 2020

    "You must also be aged over 55 and live in Newcastle upon Tyne."

    Could you please define the area you mean by "Newcastle Upon Tyne."


    I downloaded & installed the App - everything went smoothly - The only drawback I can see is that a "smartphone" is needed - this may exclude a fair-sized chunk of the older population.


    I went here: and I can't agree with the statement "Social care for the elderly is on the verge of collapse."


    This works in London and is going to be trialled in Newcastle - but what are your thoughts on extending this to urban/suburban & rural areas where I think there is more of a need for such a scheme?


    "emerging sharing economy and the desire of young people to give more than just money."

    If I understand this correctly then this is the "young helping the old" which will be fine during the July/August period but there will be limitations during term time and the Winter months.


    A DBS check takes about four weeks so I assume you are only looking for volunteers to be the "customers"?


    Thank you.

    Meera Vijayaraghavan
    25th June 2020

    Hi Ian,

    Thank you for your comments. As this is a pilot we are very much feeling our way at the moment and any feedback is appreciated.

    I hope to answer some of your questions and comments here.

    We are are looking for people in Newcastle upon Tyne within a few mile of the city centre as we are not sure where the volunteers and people needing help will be.

    Thank you for downloading the app. You can indeed interact with the onHand service through the app but we will be providing people who sign up through VOICE alternative instructions.

    In this pilot period we are trying out a more rural location and hope to have more information for you in the coming weeks.

    The young doesn't necessarily mean students and I hope that people of all ages will be willing to volunteer.

    The DBS checks are taking differing amounts of time from 2days upwards. Through VOICE we are looking for people who will use the service - "customers" as you called them.

    Kind regards,