People Hub offer a jobs and training programme for people in Cornwall that is genuinely transformational, because alongside the practicalities, People Hub prioritises your wellbeing and journey towards self-actualisation.  

Whether homeless or recently unemployed, or if you’re looking to return to work, People Hub can help you make radical changes. What’s more, it’s a complete program, not just a referral service.  

You'll work with either People Hub or one of their partners, Konnect or Smart-Matching, and be assigned a key worker. Together you'll discuss your needs, whether it's about housing, help with addiction, unemployment, physical and mental health needs, or help applying for benefits... You'll draw up an action plan and you’ll receive support until you're where you want to be.

Hi9 is proud to be the fourth partner and technical arm of such an important project. We use natural language and emotional immersion so that anyone can access services and share data without prior knowledge. Hi9 builds ‘Artificial Friends to affect Real Change’ and for People Hub we have created a chatbot named ‘Debbie’.

As People Hub’s ‘Receptionist’, Debbie will be chatting on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Google Assistant. She can provide information, open accounts, and even help fill out a housing application or benefit claim. Debbie has Artificial Emotional Intelligence. The ‘emotional’ aspect means she’s a bit of a character - she’s been through a lot of life challenges herself and enjoys nothing more than listening to others’ stories and sharing her own.  

By alleviating barriers like form-filling and finding the right help, Debbie makes accessing services and training a much smoother process, particularly for the most economically isolated people across Cornwall. This is the first time AI has been used in this way.  

In taking the brunt of the admin, Debbie will speed things up for the key workers, so they can focus on the important work of helping their clients.

This programme comes at a time when over 14 million people in the UK are ‘economically inactive’ and 1.5 million people rely on Disability Living Allowance. In Cornwall alone, 66,800 people were economically inactive between July 2019 and June 2020, and of this, 20,400 people were experiencing long-term sickness. 

And since the pandemic, all this got a lot worse.

In Cornwall there are significantly more people claiming unemployment benefits compared to pre-pandemic levels - 20,460 people as of July 2020, with just 8,870 in early March 2021.

Mental health disorders account for almost a quarter of ill health in the UK, and unsurprisingly this has also worsened substantially as a result of the pandemic, by 8.1% on average. 

Maybe you or someone close to you identifies with one of these groups. If so, you likely know how hard it is to access the things you need.  

If so, People Hub is here for you, and Debbie can’t wait to chat!