List of Projects LocalSupport Project Overview

Project Overview

Updated 6 months ago by Sam Joseph
The open source project Local Support is a directory of local charity and non-profit organisations for a small geographical area. 

Our customer is the non-profit organization Voluntary Action Harrow.

The mission is to support members of the public searching for support groups for things like helping care for an elderly or sick relative; and also to help charities and non-profits find each other and network.  See the following overview video:

This website by "Mind in Harrow" was given as an example of the best similar service already available, although it is specific to mental health, and "LocalSupport" is intended to be generic across all types of charities and non-Profit Organizations (NPOs).

To come up to speed on the project connect with Sam on or Skype username "tansaku". But feel free to check out the following resources:

Sequence to get started with contributing code?
1. Fork github repo
2. Go through installation sequence

One important issue is to be able to seed the directory with relatively up to date data from Charities, and also to keep that data up to date. In the UK an organization called OpenCharities provides the most accessible version of the official charity records, taken from the official UK charity commission, which charities are supposed to lodge records with each year. Some charities may not remember to update their data every year - also if address changes, reminders from charities commission may not be arriving at the right person, who may think they have unregistered. Operational address may be different from registered one for short periods of time. The diagram below shows a rough flow of the information:

What's particularly relevant is that we can grab a snapshot of all the UK charities contact details from OpenCharities, and extract all the Harrow charities to seed the LocalSupport directory. However this data does change over time and we’d like to ensure that we can take advantage of any data updates that open charities receive. Although perhaps this is less important than the initial seeding.

Such a system might have data which included “registered” contact details and “operational” contact details for each charity, with the “registered” contact details being updated automatically and the “operational” contact details being updated by local users. When they match a single contact data could be displayed, and both if they are different with notes about what the difference between the two is, although at the same time what we critically need is user stories that can be validated by end users ... a draft of which can be found in the links above, along with currently empty GitHub repo and Pivotal Tracker for the project:

Interestingly one can create an interactive map in Google Fusion tables very easily ...

Link to interactive google map

How this works:

Regarding behind the curtains, the data is just grabbed from zip file of charities (bit of regex to get those local to a particular area) and then uploaded to fusion tables (from csv format) - takes all of like 10 minutes:

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