chicksvoistpostSince the end of January this year Voist has been working around the clock on Solve’s 14 week Accelerator program the ‘Public Service Launchpad’. Along with 14 other teams we have been designing, discussing, hypothesising, iterating, testing and developing tech based tools; with the aim of improving the vast and valuable work that Public Services carry out every day.

We are fast approaching the final stage of the Accelerator and intensity levels are rising. Despite the full throttle force that is pinning us to our seats (literally, we rarely leave our desks), it feels as though we are finally out of the dark scary tunnel part of this rollercoaster ride; enjoying the speed and appreciating the stomach flips. In no other situation would it be possible to learn quite so much in such a short space of time.

We have broken sweat, shed a few tears and definitely raised our blood pressure levels a few notches. Working hard on perfecting the wheels and cogs that make up our tool Mapify. For those first timers to our blog Mapify is a community-led consultation tool; a local social network created for service providers, local businesses and community groups to map local talent, share resources and make connections.

Mapify is particularly useful when an area is about to undergo regeneration. It allows users to visualise their networks and connections, demonstrate the impact they have on their community and utilise local assets and resources more easily. Giving key members of a community the tools to collectively build a picture of the social infrastructure that exists, more often than, not beneath a local authority’s radar. So that when it comes to redeveloping an area, planners can make sure those developments are more inclusive of the valuable networks that already exists.

The idea for Mapify began in the Cockpit Theatre (now our local partners in Church Street). Dave Wybrow, the Theatre’s manager, felt passionately that the voice of the Arts and Culture cohort must be heard; in light of the 10 year regeneration plan for Church Street and last year’s cuts to Westminster’s entire Arts budget. Together we discussed how we could build a platform that would allow a community to pinpoint what really counts within their neighbourhood.

Voist has been working alongside the Church Street community for over a year now and has learnt so much, not just about regeneration but about the importance of community networks and how those networks offer support and keep the spirit of a community alive and thriving.

There are so many individuals out there from all industries trying to find the perfect formula for true community spirit; the Church Street community is a spectacular example.

Perhaps they should offer an Incubation program of their own? Voist has definitely benefited from being submerged in this extra special neighborhood. The monthly Networking Lunch event run by Paddington Development Trust perfectly demonstrates how passionate people are about this area. It was a perfect place to hold our first HackShop in Church Street which was a great success.

So as we reach our final sprint on Solve’s incubator we are more than ready to crank it up a gear in honour of Church Street. This is for you guys, hold on tight now.