The Resource Drawer
I imagine that every social work office has its own resource drawer. I can state with certainty that the half dozen or so teams that I have worked in have for sure. In fact I think that along the way I have occasionally been responsible for its upkeep and even though I am loath to admit it, I failed. You would think it an easy enough task, keeping all that information from helping organisations up together but it’s not. Not when you are always too busy and your middle name is Chaos! Well, my middle name is actually Keith but let’s just say, organisation is not the sharpest tool in my box! It was never easy to be responsible for the resource drawer and do a good job. Fine if you wanted to just stuff everything in it, but not so good if you wanted a neat, tidy collection of useful resources.
Collection of Information
Here’s how it goes: in the life of the team leaflets get written, lists, referral forms, news letters, and protocols get written, emailed and posted in to the office. Over time, more get sent along with news of events, staff changes, achievements and anything else you can think of. As new stuff comes in, all the old stuff inevitably, it gets out of date. Eventually, instead of the resource drawer becoming a useful collection of information it becomes a Black Hole of ever expanding dark matter of no use to anyone. If you are the person charged with keeping tabs on this, you learn to look down when anyone asks for information and pray that the day comes quickly when the baton can be passed to the next
poor sucker willing enthusiast who will proudly maintain the draw.
Accessible to Everyone
So here’s where the inspiration for The Neighbourgood came from. I thought that I could develop a web site that would contain all that information about offices, centres, projects and resources. No longer will papers, leaflets, referral forms, smart brochures documents and such be stuffed into a cabinet that only the brave dare enter. Social workers might end up with a web based resource that they don’t have to keep tidy and maintain. Owners of the information can be responsible for what gets put in the resource site and all that valuable stuff like phone numbers, addresses, emails, web sites, opening times, referral details and so on can be added, updated and amended as time goes by. On top of that, the information will also be accessible to everyone so if a person is looking for help or information about any if the services they can find it for themselves. After that, libraries, Citizens Advice Bureaus and anyone else will also have a handy reference.
Neighbourgood will benefit everyone. The information will be managed by the group or organisation adding the listing and not by someone who’s middle name is Chaos. If a telephone number, name or some other detail changes it can be updated here immediately. No need to rely on emails or a letter to get those important facts out. People looking for details of a helping or support service will have a way of accessing information without having to ask anyone else. And the people who might be asked will have the details at their fingertips. There is no doubt that having the information is crucial to offering support to people who need it. Often, if we have never accessed a service before, we may have no idea it exists and may not think to look. Community Care published a piece about the dangers of Social Workers not knowing these details and the disadvantage this can create. We know that helping groups want to be found,
“Many peer support organisations and networks have expressed their readiness to be involved in the future of personalisation, but often find they don’t have the access to the people who would benefit most from their assistance.”
Neighbourgood will help you find people who can help.