Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

App developer uses tech to support night shelter

Megan Abbott with Paul Harding

Tech expert Paul Harding has offered his support to Swindon’s leading homeless charity – Swindon Night Shelter – by developing an online, app-based information platform and donation service.

Using his new tech platform Zapp Active, which is in development as an interactive community portal, Swindon Night Shelter is one of the first charities to be featured.

The aim is that over time, that those who sign up to the platform can share their news, share links to their own businesses, projects or charities and also take event bookings through the site – with Zapp Active taking a small fee with each booking. The site showcases all aspects of Swindon Night Shelter including The Hub Shop and Cafe. 

Becky Davison, one of the founders of Swindon Night Shelter, said: “Anyone who can help spread the word about our services, activities and fundraising is appreciated here.

"We need to raise funds to function and to support our guests as we receive no grants for our day to day activities.

"Those activities offered on a daily basis are the real way to make the difference to someone who is leading a chaotic life through homelessness or through being vulnerably housed.”

Paul, who lives with his family in Lechlade, said: “Any of us could find ourselves homeless, sofa surfing or out on the streets. An event could turn our lives upside down and then we’re are out in the cold.

“Recognising that makes it easy to support a charity like Swindon Night Shelter. When you are at your most vulnerable, these people, many of them giving up their time voluntarily, are the people you need.”

Paul Harding, has already won a major award for his innovative app for childminders and parents Kids Covered. This app runs on the Zapp Active platform.

He’s now continuing to develop Zapp Active as a platform for communities to promote local events, activities, points of interest, charities, the High Street and independent traders.

During 2020 it will be free for any charity or organisation to sign up and for businesses too. Low cost charges will apply for add-ons such as events (50p plus 1.4 per cent for event tickets).

Currently the platform is being built to cover an area between Cirencester and Swindon taking in towns of Fairford, Malmesbury, Lechlade, Royal Wootton Bassett, Highworth and Cricklade. Over time, the platform will reach out to other areas in the South West and beyond.

“The potential for this is huge – it drives traffics and backlinks online, it will allow for groups to take bookings through the site – as well as search the site to find out what’s going on in their area," said Paul.

“We can live stream events and get out instant news and views – with the ability to link straight back to for example, an organisation’s own website in real time.”

To find out more or make a donation to Swindon Night Shelter visit https://www.zappactive.com/charity/swindon-night-shelter

Pictured: Megan Abbott, assistant manager of The Hub Shop & Cafe, with Paul Harding