Rye Lane Chapel is a Baptist church in Peckham, Southwark with a long history of working within the local community, and a Grade 1 listed 200-year-old Victorian building in need of renovation.
We talked to Lilly Livingston, Project Support Officer at Rye Lane Chapel, about her journey with Datawise London training.
A community audit and report that can help shape the future of this much-loved building.
Challenge: using data to help shape redevelopment of services and a building
Lilly started in an administrative role with Rye Lane Chapel to help with the redevelopment project and its feasibility study.
She decided to dive straight in with a project that could help Rye Lane Chapel better understand the local area as well as needs and aspirations of local people.
“I put myself forward really to say, ‘You know what? Let me try and do a Community audit’. I'd worked on one project before this church project with someone else, but it was new to me going out there and surveying.
The consultation mainly focused on what type of activities you'd like to see what, what are the issues within the area and a bit of background as well on religious belief. And we really wanted to see what people's interest is in heritage.
I collected a whole lot of data, 218 survey responses and 18 questions in the in the questionnaire and it was a bit like, ‘So what do I do with this now’?”
Solution: attend Datawise London training series
Lilly attended a range of Datawise London training sessions, including Getting Started Putting your Data on the Map, Introduction to Qualitative Data Analysis and Excel as well as impact sessions delivered by Superhighways for Community Southwark.
She put mapping into practice straight away using postcode data from survey respondents.
“I wanted to see who responded to the survey within a one-mile radius of where we are actually based. Using the skills I leant in the mapping course, I was able to do that, to see who was in Southwark and who was outside of Southwark that responded.
It was also good to see that although some respondents don't live in the area they had an interest in what we were trying to achieve and having a voice in what we're doing here. So that was really interesting”.
For the wider community audit, Lilly has used mapping extensively, such as identifying which schools are within a one-mile radius that they may want to work with.
She’s also colour-coded her Google map to show the different types of community assets, including heritage. Training has also helped Lilly analyse and share further data from the survey.
Having discovered Google Forms, Lilly was able to use Forms to gain immediate charts and graphs on key data.
The next step in the journey was to get to grips with Excel.
“In Excel I learned about pivot tables and that was really helpful. At first, I was a little bit confused by it and struggled using the tables and then I had a one-to-one with Kate to talk about this.
Kate showed Lilly how she could use pre-set pivot tables to help analyse the survey data.
"I was able to see how many people, for example, are in certain age groups that responded.
I went about my analysis question by question because I included almost everything in the report (but not all the free text responses!)".
So how did Lilly gain insights from the text-based answers?
“Where people could write free text on what other type of activities or services we could provide, there was a really useful training session on grouping the data into categories.
I gave each one a code, so say one would be recreation, another arts and culture and so forth”.
Lilly also researched the demographic profile of the local community, together with Indices of Multiple Deprivation and services that already exist in the area.
The leadership team has now reviewed and signed off Lilly’s comprehensive 77-page report.
“I've had so much praise for it. But I just hand over the praise to Superhighways!”
How the Datawise London training helped
What did Lilly think of the training?
"What I really liked is that we were able to be hands on when we were doing the mapping. I actually completed my map of the data to show where the different postcodes are in the session.
Because you were flexible: I wrote to yourselves before the training and said, ‘Could I use data that I'm actually working on?’ And that was just really, really helpful.
Also learning from others. Having that opportunity to speak to others and to hear questions from others. Things I didn't think of. So the group sessions were beneficial in that way.
Things were really well explained too".
Lilly found that practical, hands-on technical learning was highly beneficial.
"It helps me to actually see things being done in practice before I go off and try it. So when you do the demos, before we go off and do the exercises, that really helps me because that's the way that I learn best.
And the way you so efficiently send through all the resources so we have that to go back to".
One-to-one support with a Datawise London adviser
"The one to one support with Kate was just exceptional as well. She was so patient.
Sometimes I would speak up and be quite vocal in the sessions, but some days not so much. I think it's fantastic that you do the one to one support because I was able to ask questions privately and not worry so much about asking what I thought might be silly questions. So I guess in a way that was of great benefit to me.
All of them combined were fantastic".
Key take aways from the community audit and report
"What I try to do immediately after the training, is say ‘I'm going to work on my report’ while things were fresh in my mind…’
“In terms of the way that the report has been used so far, we've had a new Pastor that came into place in September, so this was basically like his guide of the area! So that's been very useful for him.
And the leadership team say they are using it to develop their strategy.
It's highlighted that there is a need for youth services also support services for vulnerable groups, like people with mental health issues or alcohol dependency, and also for elderly people.
One of the charitable objectives of Rye Lane Chapel is to support youth and the elderly as well, so it's good that this has come through in their report, that there is actually a need for that support.
They've found it really useful just to understand how the spaces are used, the frequency of how they are used and so forth, so that's helped them to put together some draft plans for the building”.
Next steps: sharing and seeking funding
The report will continue to be helpful to the development of the building.
“It's a massive redevelopment project. We’ve spoken to a few professionals and depending on what design we go for, we could be looking at spending million pounds, so we'll be exploring getting funding for the project.
Finally, with knowledge of Canva, Lilly is creating pictograms, charts and graphics to use alongside word clouds in a summary of the consultation on a webpage to share back with the community.
Any final thoughts?
“With the training that I've done with yourselves, it just opened up my mind to so much more. There's so many tools out there that can assist you to do your job well”.
I think what you do is absolutely fantastic and I would not have been able to achieve this, or to be able to do this to such a high standard, without the training.
So I’m eternally grateful and I look forward to attending future sessions”.