onHand: an app for seeking local volunteer help in London

Post date: 
Friday, 17 April 2020
Closeup of woman holding a phone to navigate travel in the city

onHand's service allows an individual to send out a request for support through an app and be quickly matched to a local, vetted volunteer who can help. 

People requiring assistance in London, or someone acting on their behalf, can make the request. 

You can use onHand (or Be On Hand, the charity behind the app) for lots of things. Its web site says it has volunteers who can do a shop for you, run to the dry cleaners, collect deliveries or do some gardening. The app focuses on Hammersmith and Fulham in London. It does operate in other places, but currently prioritises those two areas.

If you just need someone to check in on you, or you want to contact a loved one with a befriending phone call, they have volunteers who can do that too, it adds. 

During the current restrictions on movement in the UK, onHand says it has volunteers who are ready to help with shopping drop-offs, medication pickups, running errands and dog walking.

Typically, young professionals, onHand’s volunteers undergo interviews and have to complete a full DBS check so the app can give assurance the volunteer you are matched with is trustworthy and reliable.

onHand support can be requested using the app, its website or by phone on 0203 488 2912.

The Technology for Life team tested the app with both Voiceover and Voice Assistant and found onHand is accessible with both screen readers. There are some instances when standard, or typical, gestures will not get you exactly where you need to be on the screen. However, if you can drag your finger round the screen instead of flicking it will get you to the correct button. All buttons and information are spoken and work with the screen readers. We found we could easily sign up, and place a request, send and receive a message and navigate through the menu options. 

The app is straightforward to use with accessibility on both platforms and follows an easy concept. Additionally, there is lots of information and support available from the onHand site and team if the user is less confident with technology. 

Website: www.beonhand.co.uk

Play Store or App Store: onHand - must be one word

Phone: 0203 488 2912

Author: Joanne Wilson, Technology for Life coordinator, Northern Ireland

Be On Hand, which runs the onHand app, has its roots in the Good Lab project which was established by Good Innovation to identify potential new income generating opportunities for charities.  RNIB was one of the charities that participated in the Good Lab project but RNIB has no direct involvement with the operation of Be On Hand or the onHand app.

Members of RNIB's Technology for Life team are early adopters of new technology and are sharing their own experiences with the most interesting and useful apps in this series of reviews. This is not an official accessibility review or audit, nor reviewed the site for any security or compliance with data processing law. For any issues concerning accessibility please raise these with the developer via its website.