Project aims to put Norfolk Christian action on the map
A project aimed at putting Christian social action and community engagement work on the map is appealing for churches and organisations across Norfolk to help populate a digital resource. Keith Morris reports.
Bright Map is an existing digital resource developed initially by Diocese of Norwich communications director Gordon Darley to show groups and activities run by Anglican churches.
A couple of years ago it was opened up to non-Anglican churches and Christian organisations across Norfolk, with the help of www.networknorfolk.co.uk.
Now there is a major initiative, led by the chaplain to the High Sheriff, Rev Matthew Hutton, to expand the content by mapping who is involved in tackling particular social issues. Churches and NGOs are being invited to contribute to that.
The aim is to help populate the map of Norfolk more fully and then to demonstrate its value at a high-profile event for civic and other leaders across the County, to be hosted by High Sheriff Charles Watt at County Hall in Norwich at the end of March. This Presentation of Bright Map is intended both to inform and to enthuse, with a view to seeking a much wider buy-in from both faith and non-faith bodies, including both voluntary and statutory groups such as doctors’ surgeries.
Rev Matthew Hutton is the driving force behind the project, leading with a small steering group drawn from across the Christian community.
Matthew said that, in 2006, research presented to Norwich civic leaders demonstrated that the Christian community in Greater Norwich provided an astonishing 154,555 volunteer hours of social action and community engagement every year - the equivalent of 79 full-time workers.
“It is my belief that across Norfolk much more than that is being done today,” said Matthew. “Bright Map provides an ideal way of demonstrating this and of helping potential users access and benefit from this wealth of service provision.
“We want to work with as wide a range of providers as possible (including the Norfolk Community Foundation) to signpost projects to help minimise duplication of provision, to address gaps and to enhance the scope and effectiveness of the wide variety of work already being done.
“We also hope that is will encourage the individual churches and organisations to work towards co-operation with one another and greater Christian unity. It should also help to enable all service providers, whether or not faith-based, more effectively to engage with the communities they seek to serve, to the benefit of the whole population of our county. There is so much need out there, much of it unseen,” he said.
To this end churches and other organisations across Norfolk are being asked to visit www.brightmap.org and add details of the services they provide to both the Groups and Activities pages and also fill in a short social issues survey about their work.