Street Support Network’s New ‘Raising Bee’ Initiative

We’ve just hosted the first of a new series of ‘raising bee’ events for the Street Support Network.

Launched in 2015, the Street Support Network (SSN) provides a central online network connecting organisations across the region that are working towards a shared mission: to make it easier for people who are homeless to get the help they need.

The SSN team decided to organise a ‘raising bee’ (a gathering of people looking to lend assistance of some kind) when digital professionals could come along and donate their time and know-how to help move the site forward.

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“You can’t help but notice the rising number of people sleeping rough and experiencing homelessness in our cities,” says Viv Slack from Street Support Network explains.

“As digital professionals, we wanted to use our skills to do something to help, and through our research recognised that a central online resource – bringing together frontline organisations, volunteers, citizens and people with lived experience of homelessness, working towards the shared goal of helping those in need – could be part of the solution. And was born.

“But we’re a small team with lots of connections, and working with the Manchester Homeless Charter and the GM Homelessness Action Network we have found ourselves with a backlog of requests for new features and content on the site and app.

“Then we had an idea – what if we can bring together a community of creative and digital folk to work together to help us make this resource everything it needs to be?

“So that’s what we’re doing – once a month, we’re aiming to pull together a reliable team of volunteers to work together to deliver more features and test new ideas as they emerge.”

The first event – which took place the evening of Tuesday 12th September – was a huge success, with over 40 digital professionals from a range of disciplines (including development, project management, UX and information security) joining in the effort to improve the SSN website.

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Tony Foggett, our CEO, says: “Viv and the team have come up with something we can all get behind; we’re keen to offer as much support as we can and encourage anyone else with digital or marketing skills to get involved too.

“The Street Support Network team have the strategy and ideas in place – this is about ‘less talk more do’, to get these features live so that the people who need them most can benefit more quickly.

“The way they’re looking to work very much reflects the culture of iteration and testing that we already live by here at Code. Rather than a one-off ‘hack day’, this feels like a movement – one involving people who want to make a sustained effort to make a difference.

“It was fantastic to see so many of our peers at the first ‘raising bee’, and we hope to see plenty more at the next event. Whether you’re a DotNet, front end and ionic app developer, content writer, tester, project manager or designer, your know-how is massively valuable to the Street Support Network team.”

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The Street Support Network will be running three more ‘raising bee’ events between now and the end of 2017 – keep an eye on our Twitter feed for the latest.