The What Now Project (Phase 1)

The idea

So. We lost. We have a long 5 years ahead of us before we can have another go at the ballot box. You might be asking yourself: “What now?”

Well, those who are most at risk from this government (and/or have been shat on by them for the last decade) need us more than ever right now. So the ‘What Now Project’ is a proposed way of channelling our anger and fear towards pragmatic ventures - particularly those in our local communities.

It’s effectively a website appealing to those who are opposed to the Conservatives, outlining a variety of ways in which they can take action to help key demographics at risk from Conservative policies -either directly in the 2019 manifesto or who have been affected through austerity measures in the past decade - through two key paths: ‘giving’ and ‘doing’. Within these ‘paths’, there will be suggestions for both donation and action sorted into areas, such as homelessness and food insecurity; users can then select/receive suggestions for the areas most important to them, without feeling overwhelmed by information/despair!

Some of the groups/areas I’m initially thinking about covering include: refugees, trans rights (could be LGBT more generally but I feel like T is the key group at risk), EU citizens, disability/disabled people, mental health issues, food insecurity (so food banks/soup kitchens etc), homelessness… but there’s SO MUCH potentially that we need to discuss it! (Like… climate change feels like too big an area to do in addition to everything else, imo, but happy to discuss.)

I think highlighting things on the ‘doing’ page that can be done in under 10 minutes would be really useful, and creating a ‘top 10 ways you can help’ page with the most important/easily achieved suggestions would also be really effective as a starting point.

NB: A key message to be emphasised is do what you can, if you can - it’s vitally important that those who cannot give time or money aren’t made to feel bad about it. Obviously.

Can you help?

Yes! Please share suggestions and discussions; in the first instance I think it would be good to discuss relevant suggestions and areas to focus on (Phase 1), then move on to collating this info and creating a database of local charities/organisations/schemes within these areas (Phase 2).

I imagine the skills we could specifically do with when it comes to making the site (Phase 3) are:

  • website design (we already have a domain name - www.whatnowproject.uk, cheers @anon76851889!)
  • charity experience (just to offer guidance - i.e. is it better to support a national charity or a local one, we could even have a page of FAQs along these lines)
  • marketing (I do work in marketing but I’m still kind of a novice, and between us on DiS we must have some pretty big/relevant connections…)/social media
  • writing: it would be good to have a blog, with: explainers - for example, How to get involved in volunteering; articles outlining (with really sound facts and figures) the extent of Tory devastation in the past decade, so people can understand why we are doing this; and hopefully in due course we can share some success stories from the project!

Phase 4 will be rolling it out to the public and sharing it! Hopefully this can take place by Feb, but we’ll see how everything goes. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing with this so any guidance or help will be appreciated too!

31 Likes

YES YES YES I AM dINgalINg

5 Likes

Key questions

  • What is the scope of what we’re trying to do? It could get very overwhelming very quickly to try and document every single charity/area that could do with volunteers! We need to ensure this is a manageable project for us as well. I am considering the idea that it might be a year-long project to kick-start action when we’re all in a post-defeat slump, and then we re-evaluate whether to keep it maintained for 2021 at the end of the year.
  • How can we effectively organise both the set-up of the project and the roll-out?
  • How can we safeguard against right-wing trolls? unfortunately, something we need to take into consideration in case it gains any traction :frowning:

(We also need to make it absolutely clear that in one of the richest countries/democracies in the world, we should not be having to organise at grassroots level to ensure people’s basic human rights are protected, and that citizens should be protected by their government.)

Thread that got the ball rolling, ICYMI:

I guess as one of the people on here who works at a Human Rights NGO I have more access than most to a lot of the tools that might help guide approach. Even though we tend to work more on a global and national level than a local level we obviously have networks of local activists and members that we have decades of experience in helping organise around key local issues - especially refugee & immigration rights, as well as protecting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech & freedom of protest (which, while not frontline priority now, may come under increased threat during this Government)

So I’ll have a look and see what internal stuff I can make external or ‘translate’ in terms of planning, campaigns, organising, education (we have tons of seminar material and guidance from actions all over the world) etc.

Can’t help directly with any local grassroots stuff in the UK of course but I might have access to some directories of local groups that could be useful. I’ll have a look

1 Like

maybe I could contribute some silly drawings or music :man_shrugging:

wish I had skills that were helpful in the struggle

3 Likes

yeah this^

I’m imagining basically;

  1. lists/directories of local organisations
  2. some functionality to filter by type, by issue and by location
  3. links to those orgs’ external sites
  4. maybe a wiki/knowledge base with articles pasted in or linked to, discussing vulnerable groups and their needs in the current political & economic climate

being sure of course that in point 4 we hear these groups speak for themselves rather than being talked over or patronised

essentially something simple and easily navigable with good visual communication as a portal for people to reach further into local stuff/specific areas of interest

1 Like

That sounds more manageable already! :blush:

1 Like

This is amazing, I’d love to suggest a focus on small organisations. My mum runs one and its amazing how much tiny charities for local communities, and under this government its harder for them to find funding as most donations from the public go to large charities and the hard work of small organisations like hers with expert understanding of the communities they serve needs support, as they reach a lot of forgotten people. I guess the idea of a directory would be great for highlighting those types of charities, typically council community and voluntary service websites will have a directory of local charities that can be used

3 Likes

This doesn’t make much sense, im sleepy and incoherent but basically a focus on small charities would be great as they fill so many cracks in the system that should be filled by the government and without them so many would fall through

1 Like

It made sense to me!

Maybe people could type in their constituency/postcode and our directory would bring up local orgs within that constituency (with some kind of filter for the purpose they serve). possibly with an option to select neighbouring constituencies too.

I like the idea of it focusing on local orgs - it’s so easy for people to have not heard of them!

[tangent: thinking about this specific point, i was reminded of the school for autistic pupils near my hometown that i’d never heard of until my housemate started doing work experience there. i just had a look at their website, thought 'that guy looks like someone i went to uni with!" and lo and behold - it is him! and my housemate knows him! what a small world. i am reeling.]

1 Like

Might seem picky but if people are gonna enter their postcode there might be some data compliance needed to be done (there are likely some postcodes that only cover one household or even one individual). Drop down menu filtering might be less problematic and/or navigating on a map

Might also be worth figuring out ranking & filtering under simple rules like ’How much time can you donate?’ and ’How much money can you donate?’
So you can go from 30 seconds to sign a petition online to protest a library or youth club closure, up to …I dunno… a week volunteering at a homeless shelter or distributing food or water …or whatever might be needed

I don’t have much of a skill set to bring to this, but happy to take on any stuff that might be low-skill, yet time consuming. Thinking of maybe stuff lile periodically checking that links on the website are still functional and current then reporting any issues to whoever can update them? Probably a bunch of things like that I can do, and a bit of basic research stuff as well.

1 Like

It’s fine unless you’re storing the postcode longer term beyond that search in a way that allows you to go back to the individual’s other data as well :slight_smile:

1 Like

ah cool, filter by postcode it is then

I knew that you would know

1 Like

Great idea :slight_smile:

I can help with web dev, done a reasonable amount with map based and free text searching as well as UX stuff.

Also can offer free hosting for the site.

3 Likes

:wave:

Hello.

Tech side I guess this is a project for a few of us to get stuck into together? I guess we can choose a tooling set based on whatever languages those of us involved collectively know best.

Was thinking we can set up an open source github organisation to work from? Feels like it fits the ethos to open source this stuff. all the code is publicly viewable and it gives us access to a certain amount of free tooling to choose from. We can still control what actually gets merged into the codebase and gets pushed live.

Maybe a slack workspace for us tech nerds to talk about this stuff without cluttering up the wider thread on purpose as well?

2 Likes

i would imagine that something like wordpress would do that for you? not sure tho. at work we use siteimprove which sends a monthly report with potential dead links and misspellings and accessibility stats

2 Likes

I’ve never used stack but know what it is and agree with this sentiment :slight_smile:

Also, I know tech / dev environments can feel intimidating / unwelcoming and I feel it is important that this isn’t the case here. I’m looking after R today so don’t have much headspace to think how to word this better but if anyone wants to help techwise but doesn’t feel confident in their skills (or whatever else) I’d like to do all I can to help there (including stepping right back if that’s best)

2 Likes

We can definitely automate link checking.

My thought is that the ideal situation would be to automate that side to flag up broken links etc for manual review/fixing that anyone whose involved and has the time could do - it could be that the organisation doesn’t exist any more, could just be they’ve moved their website :slight_smile:

1 Like