Wokingham Borough Council is encouraging residents to make use of the Community Directory, a free online search tool, following the relaunch of the service.
The directory contains contact information and advice from hundreds of local and national services, which offer support on a range of subjects.
The services listed in the directory help residents with all aspects of their daily lives, including supporting them to live independently, be involved in the community, seek help for health and wellbeing needs and access advice services.
The new-and-improved directory features a homepage, directing visitors to four subject areas: families, young people, adults and special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) local offer.
Cllr Clive Jones, leader of the council, said: “The directory has been a brilliant tool for our residents for many years now, but the old website was not always easy to navigate and did not make it easy for people to find the help and support they needed.
“With this new-look directory, we have taken a lot of feedback on board to make it user-friendly and direct residents to the most appropriate solution. The breadth of information available on the directory is remarkable and I would really encourage all of our residents to make the most of this resource.”
The addition of a homepage is an aspect that has been introduced as a result of feedback from residents. After clicking on one of the four subjects on the homepage, users are presented with a series of options to refine their search to the most appropriate solution. This includes advice and support, childcare, health and wellbeing, housing, transport, holiday schemes and activities.
The SEND section is for residents up to the age of 25 and provides information and support for children and young people, as well as their families. This includes benefits and financial guidance, employment and careers advice, social care and support groups.
A child or young person is said to have special educational needs or a disability if they:
- Have a learning difficulty or disability that makes it much harder to learn
- Require special educational provision(s) due to a disability that prevents or hinders learning
The overall design of the directory has been changed to help residents locate information easier and help to distinguish the directory from the main council website.
Users can search for the service they need by using key words and create a shortlist. There is also a ‘What’s On’ section, which lists local events.
Contributors can sign in to upload new information and events and the council is encouraging any existing users to ensure the details they have previously provided are up to date.
The directory has been built to comply with accessibility guidelines, enable better navigation and improve compatibility with assistive technology, e.g screen readers.
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