Yellow Submarine founder Toby Staveley has created a new online platform for small local charities to share knowledge, build consortia, and gain combined impact and PR. So far 168 groups have joined Locl Oxfordshire, with more members sought.
Locl Oxfordshire is a digital platform for voluntary organisations in Oxfordshire to help one another. It is about sharing knowledge, resources and collective impact. Members can explore their collective reach, tap into local knowledge and connect quickly and easily at www.locl.org/oxfordshire.
Oxfordshire Community Foundation has been supporting the site’s founder Toby Staveley, who set up two Yellow Submarine cafes in Oxford and Witney to create apprenticeships for people with learning disabilities, by sharing some of our data. OCF is committed to a strong community and voluntary sector in Oxfordshire, and we believe that open data can assist with this ambition, through enabling transparency of our actions.
The Locl website maps member charities and community groups, allowing peers to search for each other by geography or by theme. Once a group joins, they are able to participate in discussion forums, where knowledge is shared and ideas discussed, providing a platform for greater collaborative working – considered vital in the context of local funding cuts. Members share information about their beneficiaries and impact, which is used to generate regular positive press releases about the local voluntary sector, allowing members’ voices to be collectively amplified. It is hoped that members will also ultimately be more visible to potential investors and funders.
Speaking in the Oxford Mail this week, Toby has commented: “Local charities are facing unprecedented challenges. Small groups have had proportionately more cuts than their larger counterparts. Either the local voluntary sector works collaboratively and starts demonstrating its value or large parts of it will be lost. Technology presents an opportunity for small groups to support one another and respond collectively in ways which previously haven’t been possible.”
Current Locl members include social enterprise Aspire, Oxfordshire Youth, My Life My Choice, Assisted Reading for Children in Oxfordshire (ARCh), Oxford Homeless Project and Oxford Food Bank. Whilst the network currently covers Oxfordshire, Toby has plans to expand the model into Berkshire and eventually across the UK.
To join Locl Oxfordshire, go to www.locl.org/register.