A site about how community groups and charities can make the most of data and open data to do something useful. Focused on Birmingham, relevant everywhere.

Open Data Policy for Voluntary Service Councils.


Manchester Community Central  – the voluntary service council for the city – releases some of it’s data as open data.

They define it as

  • Open data are data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone

  • It is subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike

  • Open data are the building blocks of open knowledge

  • Open knowledge is what open data becomes when it’s useful, usable and used

and add that their main aims are


  • That our data are useful. We wish to publish data that bring value to those building a stronger community and voluntary sector.

  • That our data are meaningful. We wish to publish data that add to the ongoing dialogue and discussion about the sector.

  • That our data are accessible. We wish to publish data in an open and accessible way, and provide regular narrative and understanding to the stakeholders

So far they have provided open data on the grants they give and some information about groups in the city.  The grants data is very illuminating, showing who received the grant, what for and how much.

left hand side of the MACC grants spreadsheet

left hand side of the MACC grants spreadsheet

The image below of from one of the the spreadsheets on groups – showing how many member groups serve different parts of the city. I’ve added a very brief explanation of the GSS code and the GNS code. These help you when adding the information to a map.

what is the difference betyween GSS and ONS geographical data

MACC open data spreadsheet on groups.


The data comes in spreadsheet files which are  .ods format.  This is an open format  and can be opened with microsoft excel or open source software like open office (which is free, open source software and works much like microsoft office).   If you use an Apple Mac computer you’ll need to download an install open office to read the file.

MACC have  written a policy on open data (opens as a pdf)  – which is useful and practical for any vol sector organisation planning to follow in their footsteps.

Created under the Open Government License

Created under the Open Government License


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