Posted by: Mike Grenville | 18 January 2009

LocalEyes Gets A Voice

Community Building tool LocalEyes is being trialed by several Transition groups. Peter Anderson from LocalEyes gives an insight into what it is all about.

One of the great paradoxes of this digital age is that even though we have so many methods of communication available to us, we still cannot easily consult any geographical area. We cannot quickly consult a community or a town on what it wants or how it feels about any particular topic using web, email or mobile technologies.

Consequently, there is often little or no dialogue between our governing councils (at all levels), and the residents they represent. Many new social enterprises are either slow to emerge, or are not initiated for fear of lack of interest or because it will be too much effort to rally the required support.

It is often stated that public opinion and action is the largest superpower on the planet,
but still, to this day, it is largely uncoordinated.

Peter Anderson from LocalEyes says that this is simply because the technology required to facilitate this type of communication, which consults with the residents of a community on a regular basis, enabling demand for services to be identified and public opinion to be coordinated, has not yet been invested in and made readily available … UNTIL NOW!

This tool, called the VOICE is one of various “Community Building” tools within the LocalEyes toolkit. It can be used to set “trigger levels” for any new initiative, i.e. I will need 12 people get a new community choir off the ground, 50 people to start a new organic food box scheme or 500 people to agree to buy my electricity and ensure the success of erecting a wind turbine locally.

The VOICE enables people to create their campaign, post their arguments for and against and use technology to great effect to engage local people conveniently. An example of a campaign.

For a pictorial view of the range of services LocalEyes will eventually be offering, view this screenshot:

Somerset County Council recently invested in this online empowerment voting software. Led by Transition Glastonbury, pilots of the VOICE are due to start early in the New Year, starting in secondary schools, empowering the youth, then in social groups and eventually piloting in the geographical communities within Glastonbury, Street and Frome.

The Ministry of Justice have also agreed to fund pilot projects, again led by Transition Towns, in the areas of Totnes, IvyBridge, Torquay, Glastonbury and Pembrokeshire with the aim of “Building Democracy”.

Artists Project Earth (APEUK) have recently agreed to fund more LocalEyes pilots, initiated by Transition Towns. If you think your Transition Town might be interested in running a LocalEyes pilot, please contact us ASAP!.

Two small pilots of the VOICE have been successfully completed so far: Kids VOICE (Word doc) and  Community VOICE.

As well as winning Millennium Awards Level 1 & 2 from UnLtd and the TalkTalk Innovation in the Community Award from Citizens Online, LocalEyes was also short listed for “The Revolutionary Award” in Gordon Brown’s recent social innovation awards. The project was given a special commendation as “The One to Watch” and of the 24 nominees in the entire competition, was 1 of 3 projects to be awarded ongoing support by NESTA, “making innovation flourish”.

The site is currently in pilot testing and will be free to use for the public and social groups when it is launched. Revenues will come from consultations requested by local authorities and advertising from local businesses.

While LocalEyes is a culmination of lots of existing ideas already on the internet, and some new ones too, Peter Anderson says that “the uniqueness of our offering is in the mix and comprehensive approach to providing sophisticated online community building tools to the public.”

To Get Involved… please contact us if you are interested in either:

  • Running a pilot project in your area
  • Helping LocalEyes go to scale
  • Collaborating and becoming a partner
  • Sponsoring local communities, schools and social groups

To learn more about LocalEyes or the VOICE in particular, either visit: http://www.localeyes.org

Email: peter.a@localeyes.org
Call: Peter Anderson: 07971 219 848

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Responses

  1. I’m interested! We have a TT in Forres, Moray, Scotland. I’m a ‘peripheral’ member who’s much involved in NMLETS, EarthShare, Forres OAPs’ Assoc. (FOAPA), Grampian Seniors’ Forum (GSF), CFINE & FareShare.

    They’re almost enough, but I’m one of the activists in the Scottish Senior Citizens’ Unity Party (view ) and I’d like our elderly lady computer ‘whizz kid’ to administer & supervise a ‘Local Eyes’ system in Scotland’s eight Electoral Regions ready for the local & national elections due in May 2011.

    I will volunteer to operate the Highlands & Islands &/or North East regions, but does the T Network bar ‘politics’?

    SSCUP (formed FEB 2003) had one MSP but was defeated (with many others) in the 2007 elections.

    We MUST gain votes from ALL generations to REFORM standards and treatment for ELDERS (current and future)!

    ‘Andy’ Anderson.


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