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This month witnessed the launch of a new volunteer initiative by the name of #wewillgather; a collaborative project created by the man behind 2011’s successful #riotcleanup campaign and digital marketing agency, Fresh Egg.
This new initiative marks a year since the mass rioting which occurred in the country’s capital, and social artist, Dan Thompson’s (of revolutionaryarts.co.uk), subsequent rallying of broom-wielding volunteers to help clean-up the streets of London via Twitter and the hashtag #riotcleanup, written by Sophie Collard.
The aim of the #wewillgatherproject, which has been made possible with instrumental funding provided by Nesta and the Office for Civil Society through the Innovation In Giving fund, in addition to support from volunteer charity vInspired and the RSA Fellowship, is to see more ‘Good Things’ occurring in communities across the UK, now and in the indefinite future. The venture aims to make both the call for volunteers and volunteering as simple as possible, as Dan explains:
"What we saw with #riotcleanup is that people want to get involved, but can be put off by formal volunteering. #wewillgather is about a certain anarchy; it's about getting people together without leaders and without structures, to do things that need doing.”
#wewillgather is managed by Thompson’s Revolutionary Arts, which has 12 years’ experience of working with creative people and local communities. It commissioned Fresh Egg which called on many of its disciplines to make this project happen, from the creative brains of the social media team, the technical expertise of the web development team and the project management skills of the delivery team.
Worthing-based digital marketing agency, Fresh Egg, was challenged with the development of the initiative’s novel website, which is not only constructed in open source code, but also has a public API being built for it. This allows users to modify current – and build additional – features for #wewillgather, as well as embed a live feed of location-specific listings from it into another site. This will further increase the proliferation of volunteer events across the nation.
The way it works is simple. Those seeking the help of volunteers simply need to publish a ‘tweet’ on Twitter comprising the hashtag #wewillgather, the word ‘help’ and a postcode for the area in which helping hands are required. These tweets see the #wewillgather website automatically create an ‘Action Page’ on which additional details can be entered by the organiser, and a record of those willing to help is kept. Logging into the site via Facebook or Twitter credentials allows the manual set-up of pages for volunteering events. Those who visit the ‘Live Actions’ section of the site will be able to find local opportunities with ease.
The project has been eight months in the making (from initial conception to completion), and has been the product of a natural partnership, as Fresh Egg founder and managing director, Adam Stafford, explains:
“With Fresh Egg’s experience and expertise in innovative web development and Dan’s mounting influence, we’ve developed a concept that has the potential to change the way communities can work together to change the area in which they live, harnessing the power of social media networks. You could argue that social media – as seen during the riot clean-ups – will actually bring communities back together, and that really excites me.”
For more information on #wewillgather, visit the website www.wewillgather.co.uk, follow @wewillgather on Twitter or like http://www.facebook.com/WeWillGather on Facebook. For more information on Fresh Egg, please visit http://www.freshegg.com.
Published on: 6:08PM on 15th August 2012