When we think of changing the world, we think of a man stood with his shopping in front of a tank, historic speeches and protests...

…but there’s other, less obvious ways to make an impact. What about taking all of the people doing great work and putting them in touch with each other? So they can share information, and work together?

We’re good with websites, not speeches. So that’s why we helped to createOne Central Place. It’s a small part of how the web is helping more and more people make a difference every day.

One Central Place is a free and easy to use directory of the voluntary, community and charity groups in the Manchester area organised by what they do, and where they operate. 700 groups and counting are registered so far. Did you know so many people were working for change in just one city alone? We didn’t.

It’s such a simple thing, yet it’s already helping local groups find out who else is working for social good in their neighbourhood.

The site encourages communication and networking in a range of ways. From facilities to browse the directory by location, or area of interest to interactive maps and dynamic visual cues so you can see similar organisations by the colouring of their icon on the site.

Once you’ve found the groups you’re interested in, it’s a snip to e-mail or call them, get directions to their office on a map or even export a PDF file, or a CSV spreadsheet for mail merging a letter to them all.

More than just a directory, the site also encourages partnership working by providing clear contact details for every organisation, along with a specifically developed calls for partnership section. Anyone interested in working with VCS groups in Manchester can create a call for partnership. Running a survey? Got a tender out? What to help build capacity in the sector? Need to partner up to secure funding or magnify your impact? It’s easy. Just describe what you’re looking for, select the areas of interest and locations the call matches and the site notifies all the groups it’s relevant to, and shows you a list of organisations that might be able to help.

We’re also working with the Manchester Probation Service to put the site to work making our communities safer by reducing re-offending rates. Groups can register an interest in working with ex-offenders – an extremely hard to reach group. This puts them in touch with the Probation Service via the site, who ensures they have everything they need in place, advises them on best practice and helps them build capacity. Offender Managers – of which there are nearly 100 in Manchester alone – then match the ex-offenders they’re supporting with suitable groups and activities in their areas with the search facilities on the site. This is just one way the site is encouraging the third and public sectors to work in partnership to make Manchester a better place to be.

It doesn’t just stop with our ideas though. All of the data in the directory is open to anyone who wants to use it via an API – just how people have created new experiences on the web by mashing up content from Flickr, Google or YouTube – now Manchester’s VCS groups can be added to the mix.

Visit One Central Place today and find out about the good goings on in your area.

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