Why we created WithYou

Trigger Communications Assistant Jessie Palmer talks to Co-Director Angie Bual about where the idea for WithYou came from

May 21, 2021
Jessie Palmer

Speaking with Angie Bual about one of Trigger’s recent projects WithYou, I was intrigued to find out more about how the project came into being.

WithYou is a digital service that has been created by Trigger to help connect those in hospital with their loved ones. Its tag line ‘the mixtape for the soul’, reminds us of all those tapes, burned CDs and Spotify playlists we made for our friends in the past, and this one is no different in its ability to help transport someone.

Responding to the pandemic, Trigger have created a platform to help multiple users to connect to one person in hospital - a group of family and friends can collaborate on a playlist, combining favourite tracks and voicenotes.

I began with asking Angie about what had inspired the With You project, she explains,

Angie Bual: Ty, an old colleague sadly died last May whilst on a ventilator. Whilst in hospital on a Covid ward, Ty’s friends and family had tried to create a soundtrack together made up of voice notes and music for him, to let him know that they were thinking of him. They had first of all struggled to make this mp3 file, and secondly had difficulties getting it onto the ward with headphones for him… I also remember seeing nurses and doctors on the news putting phones into plastic packets to allow patients to talk to loved ones in hospital. That’s what started the idea - how can we achieve what Ty’s family had tried to do… how can we get messages of high quality into hospital? While nothing can stand in place for a real-life visitor, we knew it could help to alleviate some of the pressure on individual callers who are trying to schedule meaningful contact with loved ones by audio or video call.

Jessie Palmer: How has working in the healthcare sector been, is this a new experience for you?

AB: Yes it is new, but it’s been interesting. A friend of mine is a doctor and when I explained WithYou to her, she said it could be the difference between someone pulling through with Covid or not. We’re all very aware of the phenomenon of isolation and loneliness right now, and her support really motivated us to realise this.

We’ve also been very mindful of the fact we’re communicating and learning from the NHS and its staff during a very stressful period. We have tried not to take up too much of their time, and learnt and iterated from the staff. With You also aims to relieve pressure from the NHS staff, who often have to provide medical and emotional care. The service is currently offered in North Bristol, Airedale and Whittington Health NHS trusts, and we’ve had really excellent feedback— we just want to make sure people are aware that this platform is free and that it exists!

JP: Yes it is! It benefits everyone really doesn’t it?

AB: Yes, it’s for everyone, including the family and friends of the patient. It’s easy to feel a bit useless when you can’t help someone get better, so having something creative to do can help channel some of that feeling.

 JP: Final question, what one song would you put in a WithYou inbox?

 AB: "River Deep - Mountain High" Tina and Ike Turner.

 JP: Thank you so much for your time Angie, I hope this inspires people to go get started making some WithYou mixtapes.

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