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!
So, armed with our interview feedback, draft actions from our stakeholder event and a list of willing volunteers, we re-grouped to consider the first of our themes – community feedback. There was lots of great ideas shared and a real recognition that many of us had lost sight of, or forgotten the ‘art of’…..just going out on to the street and having a good old chat with folk walking by.
We held a workshop to think and talk through some of that together, we covered:
- Why we want to talk to people on our doorstep
- Thinking through what we wanted to talk to people about, and how we could record that while still just “having a chat”.
- Getting to know the questionnaire/chat we want to have
- Practising the questionnaire and chat
- Things to consider when approaching people (identifying ourselves, our fears, safety concerns, time out, our worry that folk would think we just wanted to sell them something, etc…)
- What information we could share with people (including being able to say ‘I don’t know’, finding further information, handing out leaflets)
And then we had a short session of piloting the questionnaire on the doorstep. This was a great experience for all of us, we had a lot of lovely chats and received a wealth of information, advice and suggestions from the people who stopped to talk to us. Some even came in and interacted with our talking wall.
We’ve had several sessions of on the doorstep since, conducted by members of our group made up of volunteers, staff from our charity partners and the council. Each individual commented how valuable the experience was, having the chance to speak to different people and getting an enthusiasm for the Hub. However, most found it a draining experience, and reflected that to keep the enthusiasm and momentum, shorter sessions were better.
Link to: Doorstep Questionnaire
It was always our intention that our ‘on the doorstep’ work would be a set of ‘evolving questions’, which could gather information for a variety of outlets. Initially, we just wanted to find out if people knew about the hub, what they thought of the outside, whether they would use it, who they thought would use it, etc. This will give us direction for not just community engagement, but for our marketing too.
In the future, a whole set of other questions have been put forward for us to ask, including:-
- Do you know any groups that might want to use the space?
- Would you like to see any particular community events there?
- Would you like an opportunity to come and work with us to improve our communities?
- Would you like to leave us your contact details so you can find out what we’re doing in the future?
- Would you like our contact details, and information about our Facebook Page and Website?
In total over 3 one-hour sessions, we achieved 17 responses, which we will use to feedback to each of the working groups in due course. The responses where mainly positive, and have given all of the working groups a lot to think about!
We’ve been working hard over the summer to recruit and train a team of volunteers who can help deliver our Advice and Information Service. This week, we’re training 5 new volunteers, and welcoming back 2 from summer holidays, so we’ll be working to skill up our people to give accurate and reliable advice.
If you’d like to volunteer your time to the Hub, we want to hear from you! Fill in the contact form below and we’ll get back to you within 2 working days. Or, you can pop in, or pop along to your local Fife Voluntary Action Centre for more information!