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.
WeGovNow is a three year research and innovation project focusing on civic participation in local government. It aims to change the relationship between citizens and local governments, transforming the citizen’s role from customer into partner. This is to be achieved with the development of a single community engagement platform, where citizens can interact with their governments and participate in local decision-making.
In early 2015, Southwark Council commissioned Mapping for Change to build an online Community Map to aid and support the work of the Council, in its pledge to build 11,000 new homes over the next thirty years.