Community Maps: Find Help - Give Help and Connect
What do you think of when you hear the word crisis?
Floods? Famine? Global Virus? Something that affects hundreds, if not thousands of people at any one time.
In any given moment thousands of people across the UK are struggling with a crisis. The list of causes is endless. To each of those people and their families, the impact is real & the outcomes can be devastating & life changing.
One of the biggest problems for anyone facing crisis is the difficulty in finding and accessing the help and support they need, when they need it, in their community.
Imagine how it feels not to be able to find help when you need it
Imagine feeling lonely & isolated, having not seen or spoken to anyone for days or weeks - how does it feel?
Imagine how it feels to want to help - but you don’t know where to start looking to find a local organisation that would benefit from your time, care and experience.
Across the UK there are over 150k charities and even more community groups & projects that provide critical support & opportunities to connect with others. Yet, believe it or not, too often it’s easier to find a restaurant on Google Maps, as there is no central hub that brings this information together.
Now Imagine what it would be like if there was a single place that made it ‘aDoddle’ for you to find those community resources.
Good News - Our amazing small team, all volunteers, have been working on making this a reality. We have completed the first 3 phases of our research, development and launch of aDoddle.org, an online UK platform that will enable all charities, community projects/groups, local and national resources to come together in one place:
Making it 'aDoddle' for everyone to:
Giving people easy access and tools to connect with vital support & resources, helping them to face the future with confidence and working together to forge stronger, more connected & resilient communities.
We Need Your Support to Launch the Phase 4 of Development:
Area Based Community Maps: Our goal by the end of 2020 is to have launched at least one area based, connected community map in each of the UK’s 12 regions.
Why This is Next Phase is Essential:
Everything we’ve developed has been based on research & feedback. To get to where we are today, we really listened, asked questions, tried things, listened some more and evolved. We feel strongly that this is the most effective way to build firm foundations for a resource that is for all people within communities. It is not about any single person or niche - it is about everybody. It’s about creating benefits for the whole community - No matter whether you need help, want to help or would like to connect with others.
Our initial 3 phases taught us so much and led us to this point (For details about the earlier phases and key learnings please see further down this page).
People have told us they love the aDoddle because:
- It is common sense to bring this information together in one place.
- There are no regional borders - if they have a relative in Scotland and they live in Devon it will still be aDoddle for them to find and access resources in that area.
- It will benefit everyone, as it is not based on any specific niche, eg just isolation or just mental health.
- It is for every age group, race, gender, etc. There is no discrimination.
- People could not believe a resource like this did not already exist.
Then there was a but … … … and it was very valid.
So, we listened again …
The whole of the UK felt too ‘big’ for them, they didn’t feel real ownership or connection to it. They wanted it to be more local, based on their community, their needs, their priorities. When they open the map they want to see places they recognise, making them feel that it really is for them and enabling them to discover organisations in their community that they didn’t know about and so much more.
We took action …
We have developed and tested the ability to create connected area-based community maps.
- Maps can be ‘geo-located’ to any town or area in the UK
- Focus is on local areas, highlighting local needs, local opportunities, local priorities
- All maps are ‘connected’ to the main aDoddle.org map ensuring a flow of up-to-date & accessible information
- As charities or community groups/projects are added to/or updated on any connected map, they will also be added to/up-dated on aDoddle.org and vice-versa.
- Maps can be created for every town and area across the country. Each one will help to build the national resource
Our initial fundraising target is £2500. This will enable us to develop the first phase of an area specific map platform that will make the process ‘lean’ and streamlined (We have tested this and now need to put the systems in place). We will also create one area-based community map.
Everyone who donates will get a vote towards which region/area that map will be focused on. To make it fair we will give 1 vote for every £10 donated.
Once we reach our first goal we will then add a stretch goal for another £2500 and repeat the process.
See Our First Area Based Community Map:
Take a look Dawlish Community Map. This was our first test map. We have partnered with a pro-active local community organisation (ROC Dawlish) who are supporting us with raising awareness and encouraging local organisations to add thier profiles to the map.
Later this year we are planning an event with organisations, who have profiles on the map, so that locals can come and meet them to find out more.
Volunteering has also been raised as something that would like to be encouraged in the town. So we are just starting the process of asking questions in the community with the aim of creating a page on the community map to help match potential volunteers and organisations. It is still in the 'ideas' phase - but could be an exciting addition to all area based community maps.
We Really Do Need Your Help Now - Thank You
By Working Together We Can Help To Build Stronger More Connected Communities - One Click at a Time.
As Promised - Sharing Some of The Research & Feedback That Helped Shape The Development of aDoddle and The Area Based Community Maps:
During our research and development for the first 3 Phases we interviewed organisations who’d previously tried, and sadly failed, to map their community. Three key issues were raised:
- Resource heavy: as team members were adding profiles themselves and the information quickly went out of date meaning it was inaccurate and of no practical use to those finding it.
- Maps weren’t connected to other areas - meaning there was no flow of information between areas, regions, niches, etc.
- Funding would run out. Everything would stop and the resource, along with all the work done/information on it was lost.
We also had hundreds, if not thousands, of conversations with people from all walks of life and they raised issues with finding help and other resources in their community, either for themselves, a family member or friend. Key issues raised were:
- Struggle to find information and if they did, then they couldn’t find the relevant bits they needed within a website as every website is set out differently
- How could they be sure that information was up-to-date and still correct?
- They didn’t just want to find information for if they were facing a crisis, they wanted to find places where they could volunteer or connect with others on their community
- Existing charities & community groups expressed a desire to connect, share and potentially collaborate with other organisations - and felt that aDoddle would help them to do that
- Business owners said they wanted to support local organisations but often didn’t know who and where they were in the community
- Small community groups/projects often didn’t have a web presence at all - they said they could use their profile as a website (it would be free and they wouldn’t need any tech skills - another bonus)
- Others said it would help with things like social prescribing, reduce duplication, help show where there were gaps in provision, help funders to know what already existed in communities and more …
- It would empower them to find support and be more connected with their community
- This is just the tip of the iceberg and we lost count of the number of people who asked us “Why hasn’t this been done before - It seems so logical!”
Some of aDoddle’s features are:
- Unique ‘Traffic Light’ system. If a map pin-point is green then it has been updated in last 6 months, amber = 6-12 months and red = over 12 months
- Profiles are added by organisations and they are encouraged to tell the story of - Who they help; How they help; The difference they make and The help they need.
- Each profile can be ‘semi-branded’ by the organisation, header, logo, main colour. It is like a ‘mini-website’.
- Profiles are set out in the same layout - making it easy to find the information required.
- Automatic emails are sent out 2 weeks before a profile changes to amber to ‘nudge’ organisations to check and update their profile to keep it green.
- Organisations only need to create one profile which will then be visible on all connected community maps.
- Organisations have the ability to ‘hide’ their address. This is ideal for smaller organisations that may be run from home or those that have a sensitivity such as Women’s Aid.
Last year this is what aDoddle UK achieved, with no budget for marketing, totally run by a small team of volunteers and a genuine ‘shoestring’ budget.
To Move to The Next Stage We Really Need Your Help & Support To Help Us to Complete the Next Phase of Development
Development Already Completed:
Phase 1 - Research the need, practicality, benefits & potential social impact of developing this resource
Phase 2 - Build, launch, test, get feedback, iterate, get more feedback, iterate again, etc
Phase 3 - Develop & test the theory, feasibility, practicality and technical capability of creating area-based Community Maps which are linked to the main UK aDoddle map. get feedback, iterate, etc
We also have successfully Trademarked ‘aDoddle’.
All of this has been done by volunteers and a budget in the region of £20k - yes just £20k and our founder sold her home so that she could work on it - That is how passionate she is about it.
Working on Phase 4 - Our Goal for 2020. Develop the infrastructure & platform for connected area-based community maps and launch at least 1 area map in each region across the UK
Long Term Goal - By End of 2025: Have community maps in each of the 400 identified areas.
A Note From the Team -
When our founder, Jaki, first had the idea to put together a resource like this she had no idea what it would take. But she could see the potential benefits it could bring to so many people - and it seemed like a logical resource to create. In fact, she couldn’t understand why no one else had done it (and she has been asked that same question by so many people that she has lost count).
She is a natural giver and doesn’t like asking for anything, from anyone. It is uncomfortable and scary for her. She genuinely finds it embarrassing to ask for help! We have had to tell her that she isn’t asking for help for herself - but for the multitude of people and communities that will benefit from it.
It has taken a lot of courage for her to put together this crowdfunder and the only reason she agreed to it was because of the AVIVA Community Fund and the fact that AVIVA is giving each of its employees the opportunity to give £15 to the project of their choice.
When challenged as to why people can’t just ‘Google it’ Jaki points out that even Google has seen the flaw in search engines. Unless people use the exact terminology then the results don’t show what people need, it is ‘pot luck’, there may be no result or the one you need may be on page 23 and you miss it.
Google have invested billions into using maps to find things as it compliments and fills the gaps when using search engines (Google Maps was launched on 5th Feb 2005).
Final Note From Jaki:
Thank you so much for taking the time to get this far down the page. I truly hope that you can see the work that we have put into this so far and the potential it has for people and communities.
This should have been done by someone before - it is such a simple idea that has the potential for far reaching impact.
Every £££ that you donate really will make a difference.
PS: If you are a charity, community project/group or organisation that provides help and support, an opportunity to connect with others or would like more volunteers, then please do create a profile on the map, it's totally free and we will even share your profile through our social media.
PPS: If you know of any organisations that should be on aDoddle.org then please tell them about aDoddle.org and encourage them to add their profile - it really is about them sharing the story of 'Who they help, how they help, the difference they make and the help they need'.
Thank you :)