Finding support services near you: weeknote 03/04/20

Still here! Still ringing organisations every few days to check they are too! And encouraging them to update their websites and Twitter channels. Emma and Winston’s Mastermind specialist subject: Voluntary Organisations of Hackney 2020

As the current state of affairs becomes the new normal, we want to give map users helpful info upfront. We’ve reacted to feedback by adding details of specific activities provided under COVID. Organisations have generally already settled into a new rhythm – much like the rest of us – so we’re not creating an updating headache. 

In anticipation that, presumably, at some point this will all end, we spent a productive couple of hours yesterday hammering the service categories into some sort of order. The original data came from the Well St pilot and now we’re calling on YOU to indulge in a spot of audience participation. Please take 5mins to give your view on how you would group and name these activities. It’s the sort of mindless task that goes well with a bottle of ginger beer and a bourbon. Ahem. 

We now have 75 organisations on the map. We know from other Council projects that food is an area that concerns many residents and have made a push to make sure that deliveries and food banks are well-represented across the borough.

We’ve added an organisation search and also designed a style for those HQ’d outside Hackney but have a strong presence in the borough. Plus users can now download the data to a spreadsheet, while reminding would-be print-ers that the information changes regularly and they only have a snapshot in time. 

The map is on many radars including Coventry, Lambeth, Leicester and Trafford Councils, UK Authority, KPMG and Liverpool John Moores University. Remember, it’s all on GitHub for reuse by development teams. 

COVID has given us an unexpected opportunity to test our concept in the field. We’ll be running a retrospective next week on ‘lessons learnt during COVID’ and are determined to come out of this faster, stronger and leaner.

Stay safe. Wash your hands. Share the map.

How we responded to Covid-19 in 36 hours

We may all be starting to feel the impact of Coronovirus on our mental and physical wellbeing. So we’ve pulled together a map of local voluntary and support services that can help us keep body and soul together. Organisations may not be running their usual face-to-face activities but they are getting creative and trying to meet residents’ needs with innovative alternatives. 

A small team rallied together and has been able to turn this map around in 36 hours, because of three factors: 

  1. a decision in HackIT to turn the original summer map prototype into a template with reuse at its core
  2. the existing Finding Support Services Near You project (sponsored by the City and Hackney Integrated Care Partnership) and its contacts with the voluntary sector and local organisations
  3. Hackney Council’s genuine commitment to flexible working that enables us all to work productively from home

The map’s look and feel is based on the Leaflet js library and HackIT pattern library (evolving from the GDS designs), which is a continuing project between our in-house design and front-end development teams. The technology behind the map came out of a collaboration between our GIS and front-end development team. They worked together on a new template that means we can spin out maps rapidly without having to edit any of the code, reducing the need for developer time.

The map template is open source on GitHub for reuse. Sharing is caring, after all. Especially now.