The Coronavirus COVID-19 crisis has changed our world, there’s no doubt about that.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to work from home are in a lucky position. With the savings in travel time, and the difficulty sleeping from the increased anxiety, I’ve found myself with some extra time on my hands. Extra time that I wanted to use wisely, to try and do something that would help.
It’s always amazing and humbling to see how communities respond in crisis situations. Community Facebook pages have sprung into action as communication hubs for sharing information about local initiatives and resources going above and beyond their usual business, in order to meet the needs of our new crazy situtation. But I was seeing the same sorts of requests for info get repeated in various conversation threads. Valuable information gets shared, but just as quickly lost in the fog of the endless stream of posts.
So I built a website to try and capture some of this stuff. A website that anyone can contribute to, and would provide a lasting record for people to refer to, and build upon over the course of this crisis.
The core of the site is a map based system for listing local resources.
Initally, they are categorised into three areas – places that can help with meals, shopping or prescriptions. There’s a simple online form which also gathers other information about payment methods, delivery details and for the ‘Meals’ category, whether take-out is an option.
Clicking on a map marker reveals the name of the listing, with its phone number and a link for more information.
The “more info” link takes you to a unique page for each listing, which shows all of the information that has been submitted for each location.
Is anyone using it?
Yes! I’m glad to say that the Single Point of Contact team in Conwy were quick to see the potential of the site. Their staff had been gathering data on spreadsheets, for their own use when responding to telephone call enquiries from the public. My site provided them with a great way to make the data public (with consent from the relevant businesses).
I have also given the Conwy team access to a special form to edit any of the listings. If they happen to notice that some information is incorrect or missing, they can access a hidden form to edit the data straight away and publish the amended version instantly.
Note: if you are a similar agency and you want similar access, please contact me, I’d be happy to set that up for you.
Within it’s first five days the site has been visited by nearly two hundred people and had 795 page views, so it’s taken off quite quickly.