This is part of a series of conversations with member organisations of the Connection Coalition.
Jaki King is the CEO and founder of If Everyone Cares CIC – the creators of aDoddle, a free interactive UK-wide community map that aims to make it easy for everyone to find and give help.
I set up If Everyone Cares CIC in 2015 because I felt we lacked one central place where people can find help. We’re a very caring society – with over 200,000 charities and community projects supporting our most vulnerable – yet these organisations can feel like our ‘Hidden Emergency Service’. Information about help and support across the UK is stored in multiple places, in all sorts of formats and it’s often hard to navigate because it’s based on local authority areas or specific areas of work (e.g. homelessness or suicide prevention). Information seems to rarely connect to other sources and is often out of date, so it can feel irrelevant and inaccurate. Sadly, it often feels easier to find a hotel room or a restaurant using Google Maps than it is to find information about help and support.
When people find themselves in very dark moments, it can help them to know that help is nearby. They might not even reach out for support – they might never do that – but we understand that it can help them to know that help exists. So, I started developing an online map where all charities and projects offering any sort of help can be easily found. People can use the map to get help quickly and without experiencing stigma. And this map is also a place where charities can find out information about each other and connect, and decision-makers can easily understand this landscape of organisations supporting people.
I decided this map should be called aDoddle (funnily enough, Noel Edmunds coined the name in a conversation with me – but that’s another story!) because it’s so easy to use. Huge numbers of charities and community organisations (3000+) have now created their profiles on there for free. One-off events are now able to be added to the maps as well. Every profile has at least one contact detail, and organisations can choose to have a get-in-touch button. When this is clicked, it opens up a simple form on the website. The map can be embedded into other organisation’s websites – we grant permission, which means we know where it’s being used, but other organisations can choose whether to just show what they upload or show the whole map. We also make bespoke maps, for instance for Food Aid, and we’re now working on growing a network of connected area-based community maps – we have 98 so far.
We’ve designed a unique ‘Traffic Light’ system which clearly shows when a profile was last updated – I hope this assists people seeking help or those wanting to connect with others, or even volunteer, to know the information they’re looking at is current and up-to-date.
Although I’m happy to discuss my neurodiversity, I tend not to share it too openly. I feel it might dominate how some people see me, particularly in the tech world, whereas I want people to see me for who I am, for what I have achieved so far and for what I’m capable of. That said, if anyone in the network feels it might help them to discuss it with me then please reach out to me.
I have so many ideas! I’d like to find a young person to take on some of the work I do – I’d like to be a kind of mentor to them. In the long run, I’d also like to connect with different partners who could take ‘control’ of an area map and develop the home page to match the needs of their community. It would also be good to start some fireside chats using Airmeets’ Social Lounge platform. Like informal get togethers, I feel the more people that come to these sorts of environments and open up to each other, the better our society will be.
I’d love to hear from other members – if you’d like to know more about the map, want to share something with me, or just want to connect, you can reach me at [email protected].