Why We've Launched onHand

Somehow I’ve found myself working long hours, seven days a week, for a salary so low I don’t pay tax. And I’m loving it.


It’s kind of happened by accident. I started talking with an organisation called Good Innovations — consultants focused on generating new donation streams for non-profits and charities. They’d been working on an idea that just hit me and, once it had, I couldn’t get it out of my head. The idea is onHand, a concept that could just make the world a better place.

Kirsty dropping off some essentials!

Kirsty dropping off some essentials!

At its core, onHand wants to help solve one of the greatest issues facing society today: the care needs of our rapidly growing older adult population. According to the UK’s Health Watchdog: “the care sector is likely to collapse in the next 12 months”. The statistics are shocking:

  • 7m people in the UK have care responsibilities for older members of their family

  • Demand for older adult social care is set to increase 25% by 2025

  • But at the same time, NHS and local authority funding for services is decreasing, and

  • 25% of UK care providers are facing insolvency

Other HealthTech companies, like SuperCarersCera+ and Elder have seen the opportunity and are experiencing fantastic growth. They’re all great. And they all focus on the professional care market. But there’s a gap: help with the really basic things that folks struggle with as we age — shopping, gardening, changing a light bulb or just having a chat with a cup of tea. The things that don’t need a professional carer. Right now, those needs either have to be filled by over-stretched and time-poor relatives or a costly care agency.

Which is how onHand got me. It’s my dad’s fault. He’s 77, has Parkinson’s, dodgy hearing and lives alone. He’s in London, I’m in Brighton. Getting shopping, cleaning and other help has been difficult. He lives in a apartment block with access to professional carers — which is great. They’ll happily help with these things and even simpler things like companionship, dropping in to check-in and have a tea and chat. Whilst it’s great this help is there, it’s costly at approx. £20/hour. Plus VAT. Getting help with a shop was costing more than the actual shop!

onHand has solved this for my dad. During onHand’s time in Facebook’s LDN_LAB accelerator last year the team signed up 1500+ volunteers across the UK who want to help older adults with basic needs. Their motivation was simple: sign up for flexible, help when you can, on-demand volunteering. That just didn’t exist before and our young professional volunteer demographic loved the idea, signing up so quickly that the team was overrun and had to pull all promotion! We take payment for the volunteers time, with 80% of all payments being donated to wonderful charities and 20% being retained by onHand. Our price point — at £10/hr — is drastically lower than today’s existing solutions.

Who are our volunteers? Simply wonderful, young professionals, most of whom work full time and want to give something back to society when they can. We DBS check and interview them all. They are a truly special bunch.

In our first match, I set my dad up with Manisha (a top, busy as you like, IT consultant) who now drops a curry off once a week. Yeah I’d like some too!

Our first match — curry time

Our first match — curry time

And since then we’ve matched a bunch more volunteers to opportunities — lots of shopping, teas and chats, cooking and gardening going down. The matches are just wonderful.

Fiona FB1.PNG

Thanks Fiona!


And Michelle!

Worse case this stays a great solution for my dad’s needs and maybe a few others…….but I think we’re already in striking distance of being an across London service, with multiple locations now active. A number of other orgs have contacted us to see if they could refer older adults to us, our facebook page has grown to 1700+ followers and we’re now getting daily calls for help. I have a feeling we’re only just scratching at the opportunity.

If we succeed, the chance to create something that solves a huge and growing problem feels magic.

So 7 days a week it is, with bells on.

Want to help?

Make a request: know an older adult that could do with a helping hand? We’d be delighted to find out more. Email us at hello@beonhand.co.uk or check out our site www.beonhand.co.uk

Volunteer: download our app to sign up at the App Store. We’re rated pretty well there. And none of our reviews are fake either ;)



Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beonhand/

Say hi: starting out can feel like a mountain some days, all words of encouragement gratefully received!

If you do want to tell me I’m nuts to be taking this on Vs the life I was living, hey, that’d be welcome too. Thanks for reading.


Lizzie dropping off a shop on her way to the gym

Lizzie dropping off a shop on her way to the gym

Sanjay Lobo