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Using the Power of the Crowd to Combat Loneliness and Isolation

Remesh's insights contributed to a Council in the UK's revamp of their Adult Social Care Prevention Services to provide more targeted support in community-led projects.

Editor’s Note: Every year, participants in the GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) Report survey vote for the most innovative companies in market research. In Insights That Work, these top companies share the real-life challenges and solutions of their biggest clients.


Challenge

Loneliness and social isolation can have a major impact on an individual’s health, and many rural communities have seen increasing rates of loneliness amongst its residents. Loneliness is known to be a major risk factor for depression, which accelerates functional decline and increases mortality rate. A Council in the UK had to answer the question: how do you bring a vast rural community together to tackle the issue of loneliness and isolation?

With support from a world-renowned consulting firm, the Council was working on an initiative to reduce the number of days people are delayed in leaving the hospital. As part of this project, the Council realized there were opportunities to do more to support community-led projects that prevent people from needing to be admitted to hospital. The Council thought that perhaps by identifying ways to better support the community to tackle loneliness, they might be able to keep people happy and healthier for longer and reduce admissions to the hospital.

The client and the consulting firm believed that in order to produce a solution that met the needs of this unique group they’d needed to foster a true dialogue between the council and its citizens. However, with such a diverse group, many of whom were living in quite isolated areas, engaging with them directly posed a significant challenge.

Solution

Traditional town halls, focus groups, or home visits can be prohibitively time-consuming and expensive, and instead, the Council needed an approach that could scale across the county, drive a productive conversation, and capture high-quality, actionable data to allow the Council to make a clear decision about how to address the situation.

To help gather or ‘crowdsource’ information, ideas and insights from people who want to help solve the challenges of loneliness, the Council partnered with the consulting firm to host a live conversation.

The consulting firm selected Remesh, an online insights platform with a chat interface, to facilitate an in-depth, real-time conversation with the Council’s resident community. The Remesh platform allowed residents to provide feedback from wherever they were, enabling the firm and the Council to set up and run a session quickly. The Remesh conversation was conducted with nearly 200 residents of the county, 100% of whom participated the whole time, signifying an extremely high amount of engagement.

Outcome

The insights gleaned from the Remesh conversation supported the Council in completely revamping their Adult Social Care Prevention Services to provide more targeted support to community-led projects. The Council was able to answer critical questions surrounding how local communities can best intervene early and how the community can come together to bring about positive change. Using Remesh, the Council found that 85% of people agreed that alleviating loneliness and isolation is something the Council should spend money on. The crowd also offered helpful insights suggesting that more budget should be allocated to the promotion and marketing of current community services, improved transport, and a need for activities that bring the residents together, such as “Coffee Mornings”.

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