Initial meetings with the Working Group have determined a direction, and since the last meeting, we have been busy getting new partners on board. Dunfermline Delivers is the BID (Business Improvement District) company, and Lisa and Chris have been constant supporters of our project. Even though we’re not strictly a business and don’t make any money, they’re interested in our work, and have been networking on our behalf to all the local businesses in their area. They’ve also donated 3 PCs, so that we can have open access to the internet for anyone in the community.
One our new contacts is the Sew Yarn Crafty at Dunfermline Sewing Machines. Aileen and Tristan took over the business in 2016, and have been working hard on refurbing their shop, basement and workshop area. They’ve kindly donated their old shop fittings – rack shelves, basket units and hanging gondolas, as well as a day of their time to fit, sort and merchandise all the stock from the Fife Children’s Clothing Bank. At the moment, the Clothing Bank is located in the back corner of the Hub, not many people know about it, and due to the amount of stock, its not inviting for people to have a look.
With the Community Engagement Working Group developing a range of events and activities, and interest from retail partners to install a shop area, is the current layout fit for purpose? From the doorstep, the feedback from our market research in July was that the Hub wasn’t inviting, or clear as to what it is that we do. Therefore, its clear that we need to change our layout to better reflect our aim:
We are creating a local, welcoming and comfortable space for everyone
We have a clearer idea of what we need to do now, so plans are afoot! Our Sew Yarn Crafty friends are coming on the 10th February, after they finish their own revamp (keep up to date with progress on their facebook page!), and they are planning to spend the day fitting the shelving and helping the volunteers to merchandise the stock to make it look its best. One of our partners, Furniture Plus Ltd, are lending us a few heavy-lifting folks to move the office furniture, redecorate and revamp the back rooms, and upcycle some of the more tired-looking furniture.
So keep an eye on our social media and newsletters on our re-launch. We’ll be closed Thursday 9th, Friday 10th, and back open on Monday 13th February, with all our new facilities for the community use!
After a really busy December, it was great to get started on some new projects for 2017. The first meeting of the year was with the Community Engagement & Citizen Involvement Group, and our priority was to get an action plan together.
Since our last meeting, Katie has been meeting with several potential members, to widen the expertise round the table, and get more organisations involved. And now, the group appointed two leads, one Fife Council employee and one community member, to administrate the group. We had members from Fife Centre for Equalities, SAMH, Dunfermline Foodbank, and Fife Council: Community Learning, Digital Skills, and Community Capacity Building.
It was decided that we need to priorities particular target groups. With so much potential and flexibility in the Hub, it was hard to get a firm idea of what we should do. In our discussions, and taking account the feedback from the Talking Wall, we drew up a list of potential ideas to take forward. From these ideas, we can plan our next steps – not only for events and activities in the Hub, but also marketing, layout, and the potential partnerships we need to forge to make things happen.
Feeling a bit deflated after Christmas, we started quite quiet at the start of January, but it soon picked up!! We also were privileged to host a Peer Support Open Space Event, where local organisations and service users discussed the value of peer support groups, workers and representatives in the community.
In the early days of the Hub, we hit the ground running, and very quickly acquired a logo from a local graphic designer. In our meetings with the designer, we talked about the Hub, what our vision was and what we were setting out to achieve. ARP Design came back with our logo, giving excellent reasoning for the use of colours and typography
The colours I chose because they promote inspiration, imagination, empathy, self respect, intuition, clarity and confidence. The logo is clear, concise, and easy to recognise, and features the best part – that this is for Dunfermline.
Alexander Richardson, ARP Design
We quickly procured a local printing firm, and got leaflets, posters and roller banners designed and printed., and sent them out with gusto to the length and breadth of Dunfermline.
However, since then, our overall vision and ambition for the Hub has changed. We initially set out to provide better access to support services, and to signpost people the right service for them. The Stakeholders Event and one-to-one interviews with our Stakeholders has shown us that there is appetite and enthusiasm to make the Hub so much more. We’re moving from a crisis-led service to becoming a creative space, a place anyone and everyone can come and be part of their community, as well as get help early before a crisis hits.
So, the challenge for the Marketing & Layout Group is: how do we accurately portray all the services, support and wider partnership working that goes on in the Hub, in a clear and concise way? And furthermore, how to change the overall look and layout of the Hub to fit our aim of creating a community space for everyone?
The Group met in August to discuss things going forward, and what they thought current marketing materials, the shop frontage and the layout. They also discussed developing an action plan, how we can all work together to get things progressed:
Marketing and Layout Action Plan:
- Perform “market research” on what passing citizens think about how the Hub looks and what they think happens in here.
- Improve the “kerb appeal” of the Hub, including:
- redesign the front window decals, removing the logos and creating a clearer display on the functions of the Hub.
- Design eye catching pillar decals, to capture attention of people walking past
- Collaborate with local businesses to create retail-standard window displays and merchandising assistance for clothing and bric-a-brac.
- Re-design and relaunch marketing materials, making them clearer and more appealing:
- Roller Banner
Going forward from our stakeholders event in June, it was clear that there is an appetite for better collaboration and partnership working in the Dunfermline area. In this current climate of decreasing availability of resources, cultures are changing and we are becoming more aware that we need to work smarter, together, to deliver services for our communities.
The Working Group for Partnership Working, Collaboration, Shared Vision and Values met to discuss how we, as a collective, can work better together, using the Hub as a platform. The meeting started with a reflective exercise, taking time to remind ourselves what it is we are trying to acheive, and more importantly, who it is that we really work for.
It’s important to remember that at our cores, we are all trying to achieve the same thing – to develop a fairer, more resilient community. We might achieve this in different ways, but we should celebrate our differences rather than battle against them. From our doorstep surveys, we discovered that the Hub’s frontage doesn’t fully communicate everything that goes on. Even though we have all the main partner’s logos displayed prominently, we found this created more confusion: who works here? What do they do? Will they help me? Or worse, a negative association: I’ve had a bad experience with them, no way would I go in. In our one-to-one interviews with stakeholder, one individual summed it up well
Logos mean diddly-squat to Joe Public
Therefore, its key that we get our collaboration and partnership-working right, from the start. We need to move away from organisations in silos, to building a team of individuals who bring their unique experiences and expertise to the table. Instead of company names and logos, its names of people, and how they can help: here’s Bob and he can give advice on your energy bills…
The rest of the meeting generated great discussion on how we can move forward, and developing an action plan:
- Solutions Board – This board will show successful outcomes for The Hub and collaborative working
- Check-In – This would engage those working out of The Hub in a 5 -10 minute chat each session focusing on how the Hub experience can be improved for those coming in.
- Lunch Box Bulletins – This could take the form of a 10 minute talk or presentation either on a particular issue the speaker is passionate about or providing information such as ‘10 things you need to know about my organisation’. This could be incorporated into monthly partners’ lunches.
- Meet & Greet – an event to provide a wider understanding of what those working from The Hub do.
- Members Guide – Katie has drawn up a draft Users Agreement for The Hub and also a summary of who is using The Hub and when, to help partners to take ownership and responsibility in its running. There was some discussion about the potential for inter-hub referrals ensuring a person centred approach.
- DWP Marketing – There will be slides about the Advice Hub on the screens at the DWP offices.
So we have a lot to work on, and it won’t be achieved overnight. But with a bit of investment, time and resources, we can build something really great!
Community engagement can be a challenge. Putting on events and activities is the easy part, and sometimes we miss the most important part – is the event actually interesting to the people we’re targeting? Getting people involved in the development and delivery of an event/activity has proven to get real and meaningful involvement; citizens feel part of the process. If we get people involved in not only attending events, but involving them with the generation of ideas and giving us direction on what works for them, they are much more likely to come along and be invested in making it a success.
But where to we start? How do we get people involved, if we don’t have ways for them to get involved in the first place? Its a bit like the chicken and the egg – what comes first: the event or the people?
That’s the challenge for this group – how to we get real and meaningful engagement, and create opportunities for people to not only attend, but get involved in the development and delivery?
Consensus in the group was to start off with a few initial events, using the information collated from our market research Doorstep Questionnaire, and the Talking Wall. Taking into account our venue, and what resources are currently available, we determined priority groups, and came up with an action plan:
- Recruit more people for the Working Group, especially individuals who are involved in community capacity building
- Prioritise “easy win” events, things that can be planned, marketed and delivered quickly and easily, such as coffee mornings and common interest groups.
- Use these events to gain feedback to generate ideas for future events, and to recruit citizens to get involved in development and delivery.
- Investigate other community activities, to prevent duplication.
Some of the suggestions from the Talking Wall and Doorstep Questionnaire are likely to unfeasible, but we can work with local partners to see what other options are available. Whilst we can’t do everything, what’s important is that we make sure we communicate clearly what we can and can’t do, and the reasons why. We don’t want to disappoint anyone, but it would be worse not to acknowledge feedback from the community – otherwise, people would eventually get fed up, and not bother contributing any more. That’s where our YouSaidWeDid board comes in – it shows the feedback people have given, and we’ve made sure we’ve addressed each of their suggestions, and what we’ve done. If we can’t do something, we give clear reasons why, and suggest alternatives.
The Working Group will meet again soon, and hopefully, by the start of 2017, we’ll have an Events diary to get folks along!