In 2012, the Big Lottery Fund in England invested £1 million in 150 neighbourhoods for its Big Local initiative. Northfleet, Kent, was one of the first 50 to be selected. The grant aimed to equip local communities with skills and tools to identify key areas and issues where action was required in their area.
Mapping for Change used paper maps to identify all the good things that already exist in Northfleet, such as groups, clubs, societies, businesses, schools and leisure facilities. This process also enabled people to visualise places that needed to be improved using the Big Local fund. Next, MfC developed an online interactive map for community members to continue contributing their perceptions and ideas. MfC also provided a training workshop to enable volunteers to maintain and use the online map themselves.
Northfleet community mapping is an on-going process, and the online community map will continue to evolve over time to reflect changes under-way in the area. People can keep sharing their views to it and engage with other members of the Northfleet neighbourhood.
Mapping for Change produced a Climate and Community Action Map, to inform people about initiatives happening in their local area. As there are thousands of organisations and projects that could be displayed, there is no one organisation that has a comprehensive list so any mapping will need to rely on local people’s knowledge and readiness to add their work to the map.
Funded under the Swiss Block Grant, Mapping for Change in collaboration with the Centre for Training and Personal Development MERITUM, the Cultural Authority City of Gardens and Highways 4 Elements carried out a two year training programme in the Silesia region of Poland.