Networky is a digital buddying platform that we originally built for the National Citizens Service (NCS). It has connected 40,000 young people to have safe, online conversations before starting the 2018 Summer programme. The act of matching the right person at the right time has previously been shown to boost attendance and make people feel better about the event they attended.
As well as scaling up to 40,000 participants on NCS this year, we have found new ways of delivering this type of intervention. For instance we used Networky to match incoming groups of students in their first year at university to look for effects on sense of belonging and to reduce the drop-out rate. We have also run a 27-college trial with the Sixth Form Colleges Association, pairing students who have been offered conditional places but are yet to enroll. Some college applicants were paired with older students therefore using Networky to create and test mentoring relationships.
Networky is in its early stages as a product, and its principles have the potential to be applied to a vast array of contexts.