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UK News

Christian giving app goes free to help people not getting government support

by Tola Mbakwe

A Christian tech company has made its app free for churches and charities who want to help those financially struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The ESTHER app allows organisations to refer people who are cash-strapped to receive donations from anyone who wants to give to a good cause. 

After a donor is matched with a recipient, a donation goes straight onto the recipient's pre-paid debit card and is monitored by the app to ensure the money is being used on necessities.

The ESTHER app has been running since last November with mostly refugees and the homeless being helped in Northern Ireland.

CEO and founder Carol Rossborough told Premier when lockdown began, charities were pushed to think of innovative ways of helping people. 

"When you think about traditional charity organisations, for example a food bank, people in need come to the food bank to get something. When lockdown hit, people were in isolation. So the charities needed to solve the problem of getting direct help to people in need, but doing it remotely. And that's where we really fitted quite nicely into that niche."

While the Government's coronavirus support during lockdown gave the homeless accommodation, ESTHER states that "there are so many people during the Covid-19 crisis who are falling through the cracks of government support like those who work cash-in-hand jobs and families with children who are asylum seekers."

Rossborough added: "We're seeing a massive toll particularly on women during lockdown.  What we're hearing is that women have taken a lot of the burden of home education and a lot of the burden of childcare. The mental health impact has been huge on women throughout UK. So we have been able to, at the very least, make sure that they have enough money to do all of the cooking amid food prices rising and children being in the house."

As the coronavirus pandemic has forced much of our lives to a virtual platform, Rossborough said virtual giving is another thing the public should get used to. 

"We're only beginning to see the tip of the iceberg about how big this recession is actually going to be when furlough lifts in October," she said. 

"It might take another four or five months before we can really get a hold of how big this economic recession is going to be. We have never been in a situation before where technology has been on our side.  We can connect people with other people anonymously in a very safe and trusted way. So this is a unique way for you to give back to your local community in a time when people are right now, and will continue to be in need."

The ESTHER app currently works with 18 charities across all eleven council districts in Northern Ireland. It will soon be expanding to London and Denver, Colorado.

Listen to Premier's interview with Carol Rossborough here: 

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