Alpha This is a new service – your feedback will help us to improve it.

Contributed by
Off the Fence Trust

Overview

Off the Fence Trust is a Brighton-based charity that has been working with the homeless, vulnerable women and children in education since 1997.

One of the charity’s main projects is its Homeless Support work, which is conducted under the name of Antifreeze. This service provides a range of practical on-street support including laundry, showers and food.

These services were originally mapped using paper methods, with a map on one side and a key to essential services for the homeless on the reverse. This service has since been recreated digitally. The digital version can be reproduced online or via mobile, and enlarged to suit varying levels of eyesight.

The service has also been offered to the national Street Support web network – a service that makes all essential support available for online access by people experiencing homelessness.

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since July 2017.

We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe Off the Fence Trust’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.

Users and needs served

  • As a service user, I need a reference point for all services that may be of assistance in my situation

Software and tools used

Adobe Illustrator

Illustrator is a graphics editor developed and published by Adobe.

Illustrator allows users to create everything from web and mobile graphics to logos, icons, book illustrations, product packaging and billboards.

Off the Fence Trust used this to modify the standard map of Brighton & Hove to create their Street Sheet.

Cost

Illustrator is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for £19.97 per month.

Adobe Creative Cloud is available at discounted charity rates through the Charity Digital Exchange.

Considerations

You can get a map of the local area from your council. However, designers can create more visually appealing maps through editing. You can also change the colour and style to suit your branding.

Designers are used to using Adobe features, so it’s not difficult to navigate.

Photoshop

Photoshop is a popular editing software used by graphic designers to create and edit images and other visual media.

Cost

Photoshop is available from £9.98 per month. Adobe Creative Cloud is available at discounted charity rates through the Charity Digital Exchange.

Photoshop Elements 2021 is also available at discounted charity rates.

Additional pricing information can be found here.

Considerations

Photoshop is top of the range for this field of software, so it is difficult to find flaws in the software.

Photoshop is not an easy solution to use ‘out of the box’ and requires specific training and expertise to use.

Recipe steps

1. Research services

Assign a team member to create and maintain up to date databases of services for homeless people within your area.

By ensuring that you are continuously checking these services are still available, you ensure the map remains usable.

Researching services can take several weeks or even months, so work this into your timeline.

Map out all the services you have collected and make sure that the reverse side of your map contains details of what is available.

2. Create the map

Download a free map of your area from your council and ensure that you have a graphic designer on your team who can work on this map using design software. You can obtain street map information from the Ordnance Survey open source website.

You can alter the colours to match with your branding and flag the locations of useful services.

3. Create a responsive PDF

Export the map into a PDF file that can be printed and / or uploaded onto your website.

Ensure that the map can be enlarged so that users can zero in on the location of services. This can be achieved by creating a PDF.

4. Iterate the process

Once you meet your minimum viable product, look into ways that you can continue to make your map more interactive, by adding additional functionality, such as the ability to drop pins, or embed links to access further information on services.

Partnerships and funding may lead to new opportunities, such as better development of your map so that users can click on a service and be redirected to their website for a smoother user journey.

Consider translating your map to a language that represents the varying demographics of people who experience homelessness.

Partnerships can allow you to distribute your map both physically and digitally.

Guidance

Don’t get into a bidding war or competition with other charities who are trying to offer a similar service. You can work with other charities to create one map within your area as this makes things easier for service users.

You can provide your map to the national Street Support Network so that more service users are able to access vital services.

You can get your map sponsored by bus, taxi and train services, as they will often be spaces that homeless people interact with.

You must have proofing and accuracy checks to ensure your database of services is kept up-to-date.

Risks

Make sure that your images are correct and represent the area in which you are working, as well as the diversity of your service users. The service should be designed with the users’ needs and requirements in mind.

Tourists may also use the hard copy of your maps, which is not an issue but may reduce the available physical copies for those in need.

There is a risk that a lack of training (or qualified graphic design staff) may lead to difficulties in embedding more interactive features.

Points of contact

For further information about this recipe, you can contact:

Roy Stannard - Head of Income Generation & Comms

Thanks

Many thanks to Off the Fence Trust for contributing this recipe.

Licence

This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and Off the Fence Trust and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.

Recipe published on May 6th, 2021. Last updated August 6th, 2021