The friend project is a social innovation conceived by Lisa van Leuken of Fontys OSO (Special Education Training Centre). She was helped by Fontys ICT students Joshua van Gompel (project leader, ICT & Media Design, Front-end development), Sven Jeurgens (participant, ICT & Media Design, Front-End Development), Ian Ketelings (participant, ICT & Software Engineering, Cybersecurity, Back-end development) and Sirus Goorhuis (participant, ICT & Media design, Back-end development). Ilonka van der Sommen of Fontys OSO also always supported the idea.
The innovation focuses on a topical social objective: fighting loneliness. Because of this innovation, children aged 8 to 16 from all over the Netherlands can create a profile together with their parents on the page www.devriendencoach.nl with which they can find out which peers from the neighbourhood also want to make friends in an approachable, safe way. All this happens from a confidential profile. Matches are managed behind the scenes by care organisations with expertise in the field of youth. On the profile page anonymous matches appear for parents and their children where the child can indicate whether he/she does (thumb up) or does not (thumb down) want to be brought into contact with the potential friends found for them via Vriendenbemiddeling (Friend Mediation). After finding a match an initial (guided) arrangement can take place. No one needs to know which children and youngsters have registered, until a match has been found. Potential friends who both feel lonely can be united this way, without anyone having to know that they ever felt lonely.
Other nominees of Fontys University of Applied Sciences ICT
Other nominees of Fontys University of Applied Sciences ICT for the Fontys Think Bigger Prize were "FHICT Day" (Annemarie Diepenbroek) in the employee category and "VidChain" (participant ICTalent Awards 2018, Simon van Someren) in the student category.