Meet the people behind the community mapping project, aDoddle. Find out what they’re setting out to do for the BCP area’s charities and businesses…
Founder of civic and social organisation If Everyone Cares, Jaki King spent all her savings and sold her house to fund her life’s dream project. She works on creating a national resource that lists all UK charities, offers volunteering opportunities, and connects local businesses with sponsorship. Now, Jaki and a team of volunteers have developed a community map, aDoddle.org. For use both locally and nationwide.
“Often, it’s easier to find a restaurant on Google Maps than it is to find help,” Jaki said.
Across the UK, there are over 150,000 charities and even more community groups providing critical support and volunteering opportunities. However, not all organisations have financial means to publicise their work. Or reach individuals who might benefit from their services.
After ten years of research, the team launched the nationwide community map aDoddle.org in 2016. The first 200 organisations uploaded their information on aDoddle.org. Now there are 1,406 organisation profiles on the map. And the list is growing.
COMMUNITY MAPPING: BOURNEMOUTH, POOLE, AND CHRISTCHURCH
The BCP community map started taking shape in March of 2020.
“We want to help people to find assistance, companionship, and opportunities to share their skills,” said Jaki. “Easy access to information can change lives.”
The aDoddle.org team has learned that a lot of information about charitable organisations and their services is stored in multiple places. People can often search for them by local authority sites. Or by niche issues such as homelessness, suicide prevention, and isolation. It is rarely connected to other sources. In addition, it could be hard to navigate, and often out-of-date.
The research, commissioned by Eden Project and funded by the Big Lottery, revealed that disconnected communities and social isolation cost public services £32 billion in the UK annually. Research has confirmed that sharing and support among neighbours reduces the demands on public services. Services such as healthcare, social care, welfare, and the environment.
PROJECT GIVES REAL LIFE WORK EXPERIENCE TO STUDENTS
A group of 25 Bournemouth University students helps spread the word about the project. Under the supervision of Dr. Kaouther Kooli, a Principal Academic in Marketing.
“It is a nice challenge,” said Jack MacIndoe, MSc Marketing Management student at Bournemouth University. “It allows us, as students, to get some experience, a better understanding of real-life projects and create new contacts.”
Students are helping to raise awareness about the community maps. They write press releases, manage a YouTube channel, and write social media posts. Additionally, students connect with local organisations. They seek to learn what would motivate them to add their profiles on aDoddle.org.
“We welcome organisations to enter their information for free on our site,” said Jaki. “It saves costs for smaller organisations that have no financial resources to build and maintain a website. It is fairly easy to complete. And it gives a small window to an organisation and its work.”
ACCESS TO INFORMATION MINIMISES ISOLATION
In addition to pinpointing local charities and community groups, project initiators hope to address social isolation problems. They want to help people feel like productive members of a community. There are 9 million lonely people in the UK who lack friendship and support. People who might spend days in isolation.
“By checking local organisations, a person might choose to volunteer,” Jaki said. “Consequently, volunteering not only helps other people. It reduces a person’s isolation.”
Jaki observed that many people were unsure how to approach organisations and offer their help. Some people could not find information about organisations. Others weren’t sure if an organisation needed volunteers.
“When we empower people to make their own choices, we build a more resilient community as well,” she explained.
Secondly, charitable organisations aren’t the only ones benefitting from a hub of relevant information. Businesses can search for organisations they might be interested in supporting.
By the end of February 2021, the aDoddle.org team completed 60 community maps across the UK. Their final goal is to create 260 maps covering the country.
“COVID-19 is going to leave a long shadow of impact on many people’s lives. And we’re not going to see its full effect for several years,” said Jaki. “Therefore, now is the time when communities need to have access to the information.”
SOLD THE HOUSE TO HELP OTHERS
The entire project idea is rooted in compassion for the human condition. Many years ago, Jaki worked as a trainer, helping people with mental illness or disability rediscover their confidence to go back to work.
“One day, one of my managers described a number of my clients as no-hopers and told me I couldn’t see them anymore. Nobody is a no-hoper,” Jaki said. She quit her job and decided to work on a project that would help people find help and support.
“All things considered, it has been an amazing journey. Above all, it has given me way more than I’ve given to it. I ran out of savings several years ago. Eventually, I sold my home seven years ago so I could continue working on the project.”
The project has received numerous acknowledgements. In 2012, the idea for creating a map was voted third by the public in the Global Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Unite’s challenge “Screw Business as Usual”. The project made it on the UK’s Digital Leaders 100 List for Potential Social Impact in 2016. And then in 2018, the group received Points of Light Award from Theresa May.
To learn more about this community mapping project and see it for yourself, visit aDoddle.org. For more local charity stories, click here. Also, don’t forget to follow HQB News on our socials. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.