Madrid is with You is a social innovation aimed at people from Madrid over 65 years old. Through a simple mobile application that connects an elderly person (or its family members) with a volunteer from the program "Volunteers for Madrid" they receive accompaniment and support on specific tasks such as helping them booking appointments for the doctor, attending with them, going for a walk, and more. The Volunteer body is made of more than 17,000 people.
Madrid is with You, hereinafter MTA, is a social innovation of the Madrid City Council targeting more than 500,000 people over 65 years old and allowing them to connect to volunteers through a mobile application specifically designed for supplying day-to-day needs such as booking appointments for the doctor, groceries shopping, going for a walk, and more.
It is a service created by and for the elderly, and supported by more than 17,000 volunteers, to facilitate their inclusion and to provide support to day-to-day activities. Based on the concepts of generosity and civic engagement, the platform allows for digital interaction thanks to the integration of two mobile applications; one oriented for the elderly who flag a need and request a service, and the other one for the volunteers who provide their time and knowledge.
The platform runs as follows:
- Elderly (or their companions) as main users: they flag a need and select the type of service they want to request (medical appointments, walks, shopping, paperwork, etc.). They are visualized as icons for easy identification. Once they select their service the application collects a series of data from the user that will be used to publish their request (date, time, address, any additional information)
- The volunteers group make use of a different interfase that allows them so visualize the newly and pending applications. When a volunteer accepts one request a chat will appear to the Elderly to clarify details.
- The elderly will have a button to cancel the accompaniment request if necessary.
The application allows a two-way feedback as the elderly person can interact with the volunteer based on its needs, and is able to rate the volunteer's performance. Similarly, the volunteer can provide information on how the elderly was found (i.e., in good care, or lacking some services, etc.). The project respects the principles of accessibility, security, availability, usability, data protection and privacy in the design and deployment of the solution.
The initiative involves a low administrative burden thanks to the ease of the communication between the elderly and their families with the volunteers. To provide a better and safer service all the volunteers are trained and graded by the Madrid City Council. Since the service is entirely digital, the City Council is able to live monitor the main indicators of the service provision and citizen participation thanks to a tailored scorecard.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
This is a digital way of connecting seniors and volunteers in a safe and certified way. The mobile application use cloud computing infrastructure services, thus guaranteeing the volunteer availability at all times. Additionally, a telephone service has been enabled so that specialized operators can attend to the elderly and register their requests for accompaniment on their behalf without the need for them to install any app.
Collaborations & Partnerships
Madrid is with You is a public-private-social collaboration service, born as a joint initiative of several areas of the Madrid City Council: the Department of Volunteering, the General Directorate for the Elderly, the Madrid Digital Office and the IT department.
The app have been developed with the collaboration of private companies Microsoft and Plain concept.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
The direct (and potential) beneficiares are approximately 500,000 citizens. This innovation reduces the administrative hurdles that the more than 17,000 municipal volunteers of the "Volunteers for Madrid" program may have, since with a simple app they can optimally select the accompanying activities they want to provide.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
Madrid is with You started running in December 2021. In the first 10 months of operation, more than 4,300 elderly people and 750 volunteers had already registered, and more than 2,800 accompaniment services managed exclusively by the new apps had been carried out.
As for the services requested, walks represent 73% of the total number of requests and medical appointments 17%, above other types of services such as shopping, leisure, pets, hospital, formalities, etc."
Challenges and Failures
The biggest challenge is the existing digital divide among the elderly. This has meant designing an application with a very simple operating logic, with icons and typography adapted to the elderly. Another challenge has been to guarantee the privacy and security of the apps, so that only municipal volunteers authorized by the city council have access to the applications for accompaniment. Madrid is with You seeks to solve one of the main problems and priorities of Madrid after the pandemic, which is to ensure that not a single elderly person in Madrid feels alone again.
Conditions for Success
First of all, the involvement and collaboration of all the actors (municipal managers for the elderly, volunteers and IT) is necessary to achieve a product that meets all the needs, but focusing primarily on the needs of end users (the elderly). It is very important to have experience in launching and maintaining digital services, as well as mobile applications.
This innovation is easily replicable by other cities that already have a volunteer program and have an IT infrastructure that allows them to develop and maintain mobile applications.
With this initiative, the City Council aims to create and strengthen ties between the people of Madrid, to help the elderly feel accompanied by younger citizens and to recover the confidence, activity, dynamism and personal relationships of the elderly, so damaged as a result of Covid-19.
- Implementation - making the innovation happen
24 November 2022