A MOBILE phone application designed to combat loneliness has already helped hundreds of students at a north Essex university feel less isolated.

The University of Essex Student Union partnered up with student connection app Umii earlier this as part of a three-month pilot.

The digital creation, which promotes and facilitates togetherness and interaction, allows user to create a bespoke and secure profile.

They can add their course, interests and societies to match and meet with others and everyone’s profile is verified by the university to ensure connections are genuine.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

By helping to first address issues such as social isolation, which can then lead to depression or anxiety, it also aims to increase retention and academic success.

Umii has now officially been rolled out at the University of Essex following a positive trial period which saw 1,200 students join the platform and 32,000 messages sent.

Of those who tested out the app, which enables users to create their own bespoke and secure profile, more than half reported feeling less isolated.

Dorothy Akuamoa, vice president of Welfare at the University of Essex Student Union, believes Umii is a vital tool in making the facility as inclusive and inviting as possible.

She said: "We are on a mission to become the world's most student-centred organisation and a big part of that journey is about helping students connect.

“Through social events, clubs and societies, and by building communities, we want our students to have the best university experience and meet new people.

“By working with Umii, we are providing newer, safer and more accessible opportunities for students to meet like-minded people and create lifelong bonds."

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Umii was founded by Georgia Wheadon, who suffered loneliness while living in a small flat with people whose interests different from hers while studying at university.

She was also left housebound after an accident which left her completely unable to meet new people, and her self-confidence and mental health declined as a result.

As well as being inspired by her own experiences to launch the app, Georgia was left determined to inspire change after being guided by damning data.

Studies show a quarter of students “often or always” feel lonely and one in six university students say they have no “true friends”.

More than half of UK students, some of which will study at the University of Essex, also say they are dissatisfied with their social experiences.

Georgia added: “My university experience is what made me so passionate about solving student loneliness.

“We all know that university is much more than the academic side - I don’t want anyone to have the same feelings that I did.

“I want Umii to act as a preventative measure to isolation and loneliness, by giving students a place for lasting peer to peer relationships to be built.

“I’m delighted that we are launching it in Essex.”

Umii is available to download from the Google Play store and Apple’s App store.