A South Cumbrian company which makes sure tens of thousands of people are “OK each day” is preparing to recruit more team members after the coronavirus crisis prompted a surge of interest in its products.

Alertacall, based in Windermere, provides daily contact service to around 20,000 people across the UK. It gives people a device with a button on it they press to inform the company’s team they are OK, or they receive a friendly call.

The device is used by organisations such as housing associations, home care companies and families to make sure particularly independent elderly or vulnerable people are safe and healthy. Useful messages, including photos and reminders can also be sent to the device.

If people do not press the “OK each day” button, then a member of Alertacall’s team will ring them and, if necessary, take action to inform family members, carers or medical professionals.

The system also allows organisations to build up a picture of people’s behaviour, for example if they are getting out of bed later and later or stop engaging entirely.

Founder James Batchelor, who made the first device for his grandmother Eveline 15 years ago, said the company had seen growing levels of interest during the coronavirus crisis as the need to monitor the safety of people in isolation had been brought into sharp relief.

“Covid has really shone a spotlight on what we do,” he said.

“There has been a real realisation that what we have been talking about for years is real. It’s really important to be able to establish contact with people each day.

“It’s been really exciting to be able to help people throughout lockdown as well.

“The organisations we work with are gushing with praise and relief that they have put our service in place.”

James said that as Alertacall’s equipment could be installed by simply plugging it in, and because that was easy, it had been possible to keep up with a growing number of orders during the pandemic whilst still adhering to safety guidelines.

“We can actually put people on the service without even entering their homes,” he said.

“We have put a lot more people on the service and Covid has generated a significant amount of interest which I think will equate to ongoing growth for us.

“Lots of organisations that had no strategy for communicating with the older people in their care will now realise they need one.

“Daily contact with people is one of the most important things you can do; it reduces isolation and loneliness, it also ensures people are safe and well and it gives you an opportunity to exchange information with people, if you’re really clever, you can see people’s changing needs too.

“Everyone gets that now, whereas they perhaps didn't a few months ago.”

The company has 75 staff, with around 40 based in South Cumbria and the rest in Warrington.

James said it was currently working on a number of new innovations and products and will potentially be recruiting new people to take these forward.

“We’re looking for product managers - people who are really expert in understanding the needs of customers - and new project managers, as well as for more people to work with our tech teams,” he said.

“Not all of that expansion is to do with Covid, but it has certainly focused the minds of our customers.”