Church-inspired project to map social action is launched
A church-inspired project aimed at putting social action and community engagement work across Norfolk onto a digital map has held a public launch in the council chamber of County Hall in Norwich. Keith Morris reports.
The presentation of the Bright Map project last night (March 20), arranged and addressed by Norfolk High Sheriff Charles Watts and his chaplain Rev Matthew Hutton, was very well received by over 100 civic, charity, church, Police, education and judicial leaders.
Bright Map is a digital resource developed initially by the Diocese of Norwich and its communications director, Gordon Darley, to show Anglican churches, their services, groups and activities.
A couple of years ago it was opened up to non-Anglican churches and groups across Norfolk, with the help of www.networknorfolk.co.uk.
Last night’s public launch, in a packed council chamber, marked a move to engage with agencies from outside the Christian community and widen the appeal and use of the digital resource.
Rev Susan Carne, co-ordinator of Community Chaplaincy Norfolk, which helps dozens of prisoners leaving Norwich Prison to rebuild their lives, told the audience how Bright Map helped her in her work to access and co-ordinate multiple services which are available for support such as the Matthew Project, House of Genesis and City Reach.
The launch was also addressed by Gordon Darley, who explained how the map works and answered questions.
Gordon said afterwards: “We have been really encouraged in the last couple of years as churches have added activities and groups to Bright Map. Taking the site to the next level to highlight just how involved churches are in helping to tackle social issues is a really positive step forward.
“We want to openly build new connections and partnerships, particularly those outside the church, and that is what today’s launch has been all about.
“We deeply care for people and particularly those in need, so a project like this which aims to help them find the care and support that they need and showcases the community facilities on offer across the county is vitally important.”
Rev Matthew Hutton said: “I was really pleased how everyone engaged with what we were trying to present, well-illustrated by the questions they asked about what essentially is a gift from all the churches to the wider community.
“Bright Map is primarily about helping to reach the poor, the dispossessed, the people on the margins and those who are not able to live the lives that God created them to live.
“Charles Watt has said to me how impressed he is when going around the county by seeing how many people, out of the goodness of their hearts and of all faiths and none, are giving of themselves to others. There are groups and activities for people to join if only they know about them and that is what Bright Map is about – putting that information out there.”
Pictured top are, Gordon Darley (left), Rev Matthew Hutton, Charles Watt and Rev Susan Carne at the launch of Bright Map.
Click here or see below for a picture gallery of the launch