A friend-finding app named Fethr has been launched to help tackle loneliness and isolation among university students.
Two alumni students at the University of Bristol came up with the idea for Fethr during lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and after an initial launch in London, the developers are hoping to widen its reach.
The app is designed to help students with their wellbeing at the times they are feeling too low to access services and just need to connect with others.
People who log into Fethr are asked to fill out a questionnaire and are then matched with strangers using an algorithm based on how they answer.
Users can then choose to chat, meet and do activities together.
And if both the strangers like one another, the app puts them in contact to continue their friendship.
Bristol University medical student Khadija Meghrawi said the app could be useful for people in different communities to connect when they can’t access wellbeing services.
She told BBC News: “It’s really empowering that ex-students have created this initiative to address the issue of wellbeing, and I hope it incorporates the needs of people from different backgrounds.
“There are services available at university, but it relies on you being in a place where you’re motivated to get to them.
“When you’re feeling low, you’re not in that place.
“On top of this, students of different faiths and cultures don’t always have compatible services available to them.”
Fethr app co-founder and Bristol University alumni Julian Issa said the post pandemic world needs “a different platform to mend different communities”.
He explained: “We wanted to bring more meaning into people’s social lives and connect you with others who might be experiencing loneliness.”