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Respond! and UCC to host conference on responding to social isolation through technology

By Sean Ryan - 22 January, 2017

Housing Charity Respond! and University College Cork will host an innovative joint conference on responding to social isolation through technology next month.

This national conference will be jointly hosted by the School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork and the Respond! Housing Association. The conference brings together a range of national and international experts to explore innovative responses to the challenges posed by social isolation and loneliness through the medium of technology.

The conference will be of interest to policy makers, service providers, community and voluntary organisations, the ICT sector, and students and practitioners in the social professions.

Among the speakers at the conference will be: Jordi Tolra, Vincles Project, Barcelona; Long Pham, Smart Cities Initiative, Tyndall National Institute UCC; Sean Moynihan CEO ALONE; Professor Mike Wilson, Loughborough University; and Cathal O’Connell from UCC.

In a statement this week Respond! said that “loneliness and social isolation have been described as the new challenges facing contemporary societies with profound implications for the well-being of individuals, communities and society more generally. The effects in ‘well-being indicators’ are broadly based across income, age, social class, gender and ethnicity and pose challenges for social policy, health and welfare planning, service provision, social integration and cohesion.”

This half-day conference is essentially a follow-on to the highly successful “Responding to Isolation & Loneliness: Housing and Community Perspectives” conference which took place in November 2015. There will also be a number of information stands present on the day representing various Statutory, Community and Voluntary agencies as well as IT firms in this sector.

Respond! housing association was founded in Waterford city in the early 1980s by Fr Patrick Cogan OFM and the Franciscan community there. Its mission was to provide housing for those with limited means, such as young families and older persons.

To date it has built over 5,500 houses around Ireland, and is Ireland’s largest not-for-profit housing association. The association has its headquarters in Waterford, but has regional centres in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Dublin. It has been responsible for various housing developments in Ennis, Waterford, Wexford and Youghal.

The ‘Responding to Social Isolation through Technology’ conference takes place on Friday 10 February at the Respond! Conference Centre in St John’s College in Waterford City.

See www.respond.ie for more details.

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