Signs of Hope
We all have dreams and some of us dream big. However few people are passionate enough to sell their home, quit their day job and risk everything on a project that is totally for the benefit of others. ‘Grandmother in Tech’, Jaki Bent, has done all this and more.
So What is Her Dream?
To create a simple solution for people to access the information for where they can find help and support, when they need it!
Did you know that in the UK there are just under 200,000 registered Charities, the places that provide vital help and support for people in crisis, and yet there is no central hub that can be searched by location - Making finding help when you need it a bit of a lottery. This seems a bit crazy when you think that anyone with access to the internet can go to Google Maps and find a hotel or restaurant virtually anywhere in the world!
Jaki says “When we hear the word crisis we often think of a tsunami, earthquake, epidemic or something devastating that’s happened to many people in a single moment. Yet a crisis can literally happen to anyone at any time, whether it be the loss of a loved one, illness, being made redundant, losing your home, bullying, abuse … The list is endless. A crisis really is anything that changes somebody’s life in an instant.”
Her passion to help people connect with the support available within communities grew from both her work and her own past experiences in crisis. Years ago she struggled to get out of an emotionally abusive marriage and provide for herself and her children, she also had a cancer scare and was then diagnosed osteoporosis and told she would probably be in a wheelchair within 5 years (she isn't and is determined to change that prognosis!) - so she knows what it means to need help and struggle to find it.
Jaki’s dream was born. She quit her job and set up 'If Everyone Cares'. She spoke to hundreds and hundreds of people, did research, looked at many possibilities for a solution. During this time she spent her savings, got into debt and even sold her home to start working on building the UK’s first interactive community map, a central hub, for charities, non-profits and community projects where people will be able to find the help that is available locally - when they need it. It will connect communities - one click at a time!
Jaki says ~
"My past work was helping people who were out of work due to long-term illness or disability to regain their confidence and self esteem as often they felt like 'second-class citizens'. Often I was devastated hearing their stories. One man had been ill for years and in that time he had lost his wife, his children, his home, everything. Yet the whole time there had been a local community project that could have provided him with the much needed help and support to get him back on his feet again - and possibly his and his families lives could have been very different.”
“It seems shocking that there is no easy way online to search for the places, groups and people that provided support, especially when we live in a world where technology can do so much.”
The idea for the interactive community map was voted 3rd, by the public, in the global Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Unite Challenge to “Screw Business as Usual.” The idea caught the attention of people from all around the world.
Last autumn If Everyone Cares was selected as a ‘Start-Up to watch and was given a stand at Europe’s largest technology event the Web Summit in Dublin. There she found a company willing to build and cover 2/3rds of the software/website development costs for the Interactive Community Map but she must raise the rest.
Sadly as everything has taken longer than anticipated, funds are virtually non-existent and now this health ‘scare’ has created a “tipping point” – Jaki must raise the funds needed to complete the launch of her dream within the first few months of 2015, or shelve the project and get a ‘real job’.
Jaki adds: “This project isn't about me or the money, selling my home was worth it if we can get this to work up and running. Did you know that in the UK there are approx 430 local and regional councils and if just one person from each of those areas was support to get back into work it would save the £6.8 million! And improve the quality of those peoples lives."
“It’s about Connecting Communities One Click at a Time - and I need your help to make this happen - Please"
Jaki's Mission Statement
Jaki is 100% Committed to using her Knowledge, Experience, Energy and Passion in helping others to stop ‘Existing’ and ‘Start Living’ their lives in an Uplifting, Personal, Powerful, and Fulfilling way.