Open Access | Community Mapping
Community Mapping is a fantastic tool which people can use to learn more about their local area and get involved in their community. As this month is Open Access, Community Mapping can help you find accessible places in your area for you to enjoy, including new openings and old haunts.
We spoke with the Social Value Team who help create Community Mapping documents for our new services about why it’s such a good practice to have and get everyone involved in!
What is ‘Community Mapping?’
Community Mapping is an exercise to help find all of the facilities and activities in your surrounding area. It could be everything from your favourite shops, closest cinema, delicious restaurants, and more. You can also personalise your maps by including your own recommendations for others in your service to check out, and let people know how accessible those locations are so they can try it out for themselves!
What are the benefits of Community Mapping?
You can learn about what’s available in your local area, including new activities to try and new places to visit.
Having a community map can help lessen anxiety or worry about visiting a new place. You’ll be given all the information about how to get there, what to expect, and what else is around. The travel element is a big part of community mapping, as the document will include all the different bus, train, tram, and taxi routes for you, tell you how much it costs, and other helpful hints that make getting there less stressful.
You can find out about the accessibility of different places by checking the map before heading out. This could be mobility needs, for example in a park the best areas for wheelchair access will be marked out, and areas with lots of benches or comfy places to sit if you need a break. It could also be sensory support, for example cinemas that do autism friendly screenings or supermarket ‘autism hours’.
You can use community mapping alongside great apps like AccessAble, which you can find out more about here.
Community Mapping can also help you find new friends and social networks based on your interests and skills. Filling out your own community map or having the Social Value Team help you get started means that you can find places that benefit you, and enhance the things you already like such as games clubs, movie nights, and more.
How can community mapping help people with accessibility in their community?
The Social Value Team currently do lots of research on service-specific accessibility needs, and will factor in people’s interests or wants so that the community map is representative of people in the service.
The team also look at the creation of documents in accessible formats, such as braille, large print, easy read, or in languages other than English. The QR code on the front of the community mapping documents the team has created links to a Google Maps page, which has all the information on travel, activities, and more.
If you or your service would like to know more about community mapping, including creating one yourselves or with the support of the Social Value team, please get in touch with Social Value via their email: email@example.com