As Invest Local begins, the first challenge will be getting as many people within your community involved – whether that’s to give their views on the area, share their ideas for the future, or get involved in the process.
Here are some top tips for getting as many people as possible from your area involved in Invest Local.
Look at the people that live in your area and think about the best way to reach them. If you’ve got a lot of young people, social media might be the way forward. Older residents may prefer leaflets to read. Families with young children might prefer to come to an event where the children are entertained.
Where do people in your community get together? Do they play sport together? Meet at church? In toddler groups? The local park? Think about meeting people where they are, instead of asking them to come to you.
If you’ve got people in your area who love to talk, get them out there talking to people about Invest Local. In Dartford – an area involved in Big Local, a similar programme in England - the community has two ‘Walkie Talkies’ – well-known local people who take to the streets to get the opinions of local residents. Here’s local resident Julie Cowdry talking about the idea.
Don’t underestimate the power of flyers and posters – simple, but very effective. Posters can go in doctors’ surgeries, shops, churches and schools. Flyers or leaflets can go through everyone’s doors – with the help of some volunteers who are keen to spread the word.
If you put on some free food and entertainment for children, families are more likely to come along. While the children are having fun, you can speak to the parents and tell them about Invest Local in a fun, informal setting.
If you want to get your message out there quickly, social media is the way to go. Set up a Twitter and Facebook account and start talking. We’ll be posting more tips on how to get the best from social media in the coming months.
There are lots of different people with lot of different interests in your area, so put on a variety of events to get as many people as possible involved. In Walthamstow, East London – another area involved in the Big Local programme - residents are using everything from video questionnaires to a community tapestry project to find out people’s vision for their community.
However you decide to get your community involved, the most important thing is to have enjoy it. Yes, there’ll be challenging times, but getting involved in Invest Local brings opportunities to meet new people, take part in some great projects and feel good about where you live.
With thanks to Local Trust for sharing some examples from their Big Local programme.