Dutch start-up matches UK volunteers with charities in corona crisis
Dutch social start-up Deedmob is offering help to British councils, counties and charities to find the volunteers they need in this corona crisis. Deedmob is a platform that matches organisations looking for volunteers with people that are offering their help. A month ago Deedmob launched coronahelpers.nl in the Netherlands and soon after they helped various organisations in Somerset to set up corona-helpers.co.uk. “We would love to get in contact with more organisations in the UK to set up a similar platform for them”, says Deedmob co-founder Boudewijn Wijnands.
Deedmob was founded in Oxford
In the Netherlands, the online platform deedmob.com has been matching volunteers with charity organisations for a number of years. The same software is now used to match volunteers with tasks that have emerged since the coronavirus pandemic. “This can be anything from delivering medicine to vulnerable people, or walking their dog, to making laptops available to children that are home-schooling”, Wijnands explains. He continues: “It is not difficult to mobilise volunteers. You will have also seen that in the UK, where some 750,000 people registered to volunteer for the NHS. However, the difficulty is in matching these volunteers with the tasks that are required. That is where our technology comes in.”
Support from Prime Minister and Queen
Deedmob’s matchmaking efforts have not gone unnoticed in the Netherlands. Last week, the team had conference calls with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. “It has really taken off in the Netherlands”, says Wijnands. “We would love to help out in other countries, too. We believe the logical next step is to roll out the platform in the UK, where we already have contact with organisations that are using our platform, which total more than 100.” The idea for Deedmob emerged in Oxford, by the way. A group of students started the social tech startup while studying at the University of Oxford in 2014. All co-founders are still working at the Amsterdam-based start-up.
Help from the Dutch Embassy in the UK
The charity sector in the UK is huge, but Deedmob is searching for the right connections to launch more digital platforms for local municipalities, social organisations and charities. “In the Netherlands, we work with local councils and volunteer centres. These volunteer centres have good contacts with all organisations in the local community that have vacancies for volunteers, so usually we work with them to launch a local platform. But in the UK every council seems to have a slightly different structure, which makes it difficult for us to get in touch with the right people.”
Start-up liaison Lieke Conijn at the Dutch Embassy in the UK has offered to help Deedmob to contact local councils about the possibility to use the free digital matchmaking platform for the voluntary sector.
Contact the Embassy
Counties, councils and charity organisations interested in setting up an online platform using Deedmob’s technology can contact the Dutch Embassy in the UK on LON-EA@minbuza.nl.