This UoB student has created an app to help people in isolation

The app allows you to shop for people in your community

UoB student Archie Edwards has created an app to help connect people with vulnerable members of their community during lockdown in order to assist them in getting their essentials.

The app is called Co-Shop, and it helps you to find people in your area who can deliver essential products right to your doorstep. Of course, it also works the other way around, allowing people to see the requests in their area that they may be able to help with.

Archie studies Computer Science with a year in industry and has just completed his year working at IBM as a software developer. Speaking of where he got the idea from, he says he actually had the idea last year, inspired by brands like Deliveroo, he thought “why can’t we do [the same] for any sort of shopping?”

He left the idea here. However, as Covid-19 began to affect the UK, and “supermarkets were struggling more and more with the excess demand, I thought about making the idea more specific, and just target helping others get their food essentials.”

Archie explains that as lockdown began, he saw “lots of vulnerable people going outside to the shops as online food delivery slots were all taken weeks in advance,” this helped to influence how he designed the app ensuring it was “simple for anyone to use.”

Having wanted to create an app for the last five years but with “no clear idea of an app [he’d] like to make,” this became very difficult. He explains that he didn’t really know much about creating an app, but he knew what he wanted to make this time, “and then using online resources and inspiration from other apps,” the idea became a reality.

Although this is the first app Archie has released, he says this is something he hopes to keep up with as a full-time job. He knows there are “many people who have an idea for an app but are not knowing where to start,” this is something he thinks he can assist with.

The app was released on 17th May, and although he “really wanted to release it sooner” as he thought it would be most helpful during “the peak of the pandemic, it took longer than expected.” However, the app is still a great tool for helping members of the community that are still too vulnerable to be able to go out.

The app has only been out for a few days and Archie already has 50 users, but he explains that “the app will only be beneficial if multiple people in a community start using it.” Archie is trying to make “everyone aware it’s out there to be used” and he urges everyone to share it with people they know.

Speaking of his own lockdown experience, he says it has been “very sad and strange.” However, a great positive is how much nicer everyone is to each other – he assumes “because we are all in the same situation.” He says how great it is that communities have come together as lockdown has progressed, and he hopes the app can add to this sense of togetherness even more.

The app is available in the app store right now and it’s free. So get downloading and help your community!