Tackling Manchester's Homelessness with 'Raising Bee'
In true Manchester style, a ‘raising bee’ (a gathering of people to give assistance) in the North West digital community is helping tackle the ever-increasing issue of homelessness, not only in Manchester but other cities around the UK.
Led by the Street Support Network, more than 40 digital professionals from a range of businesses across the region kick started the inaugural gathering this week at an event held at digital agency Code Computerlove. They assembled to donate their time and digital expertise to help the Street Support Network implement new digital features and content that will actually make a difference to people’s lives using this resource.
The Street Support Network launched in 2015 to provide a central online resource and connect the breadth of organisations across the region that are working towards a shared mission – to make it easier for people who are homeless to get the help they need.
Viv Slack from Street Support Network explained: “You can’t help but notice the rising number of people sleeping rough and experiencing homelessness in our cities; as digital professionals we wanted to use our skills to do something to help.
“Through our research we recognised that a central online resource - bringing together frontline organisations, volunteers, citizens and people with lived experience of homelessness, working towards the shared goal of helping those in need - could be part of the solution. And streetsupport.net was born.
“But we’re a small team with lots of connections, and working with the Manchester Homeless Charter and the GM Homelessness Action Network we found ourselves with a backlog of requests for new features and content on the site and app.
“So we asked the digital community for help and they came! The first event has been a huge success – and will continue monthly. Our Raising Bee sees a reliable team of regular volunteers with a range of skills – from developers, UX, project managers, and designers to information security - working together to deliver more features and testing new ideas as they emerge.
“Our lead developer Vince Lee is leading the charge, directing on the tech stack side, while I work with volunteers to progress other areas.”
Tony Foggett, CEO of Code Computerlove, who’s keen for more people to get involved added: “Viv and the team have come up with something we can all get behind; we’re keen to offer as much support as we can and encourage anyone else with digital or marketing skills to come and join us and get involved.
“The strategy and ideas are in place – this is about less talk more do, to get these features live so that the people who need it most get to benefit.”
The Street Support Network will be running more events in the coming months where digital marketers can volunteer their time alongside other professionals from the region. Anyone interested can get more information at www.streetsupport.net or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org