Purpose or aims of the Greater Carpenters Neighbourhood Forum’s (GCNF’s) communications strategy:
- To achieve effective and positive two-way communication with a range of individuals and groups that the GCNF may need to communicate with in developing a Neighbourhood Plan.
- To improve methods of engaging and involving GCNF members, potential members and widely the residents, businesses and other stakeholders of the GCNF area.
- To raise awareness of issues impacting on the GCNF community.
- The facilitate good relationships with the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) as the local planning authority
- To share, exchange with and inform other existing and potential. Neighbourhood Forums and community groups generally of GCNF’s work in developing a Neighbourhood Plan.
- To provide information to the wider public/community on the GCNF and its developing Local Plan.
- To effectively work with other organisations that may assist in the development of a GC Neighbourhood Plan.
Who does GCNF need to communicate with?
- Immediate and ‘offsite’ stakeholders (members and potential members of the GCNF). This includes business and voluntary and community sector groups) living and working within the Greater Carpenters Neighbourhood Area.
- Affiliates and interested parties – that is those that may work with or assist the GCNF in producing a Neighbourhood Plan. This includes a range of other Neighbourhood Forums, voluntary and community sector groups, Locality, academics and students, local national and specialist media contacts and potential development or infrastructure partners.
- LLDC – as the local planning authority.
- LB Newham – as the local authority responsible for policy issues and service delivery outside the remit of the planning authority
- Local media –newspapers particularly.
Existing methods of communication and effectiveness or weaknesses
- One to one discussions with individual immediate and ‘offsite’ stakeholders. This provides very good source information, although it is very time consuming and few people like to engage in actively doing this.
- Social media – website and twitter. The website is regularly updated by a nominated Forum member. This is a good method of communication with ‘engaged’ members of the Forum (immediate and ‘off-site stakeholders) and other GCNF contacts.
- Leaflet drops – at present not very regularly. We see this as important in terms of provision of information about meetings and events particularly for immediate stakeholder who
(i) are not already members of the Forum
(ii) do not have email or access to the internet.
- Newsletters. At present these are not very regular. (Detail set out in bullet point above applies here).
- Surveys – these are carried out as and when required to find out immediate and offsite stakeholders views on general and specific policy areas.
- Meetings and events. GCNF meetings are held routinely (roughly one each month). Other events such as exhibitions and drop-ins are organised when required. At present these are not as well attended as we would like.
- Phone calls and text – as a reminder about GCNF meetings and as a method of surveying and keeping in contact with people.
What else will the GCNF do to improve the effectiveness of its communications?
- Carry out audits or surveys aimed at assessing existing and potential GCNF members’ interests and skills and ways in which they would like to engage with the Forum. This will help in understanding the community GCNF represents, will assist in offering friendly and informal initial conversation with people in one-to-one discussions at the door and will ensure that as many as possible feel they can contribute to the GCNF and will strengthen our sense of community.
- Regular newsletters – via email and door to door distribution. Handing residents, local businesses and stakeholders a newsletter at their door helps to engage people in conversations and establishes good relationships.
- Increasing use of social media.
- Development of a separate ‘affiliates and interested parties’ database – to send newsletters and updates about the forum to.
- Each GCNF member will attempt to involve a new member in the Forum.
- Establishment of a dedicated communications sub-group. The sub-group will meet between GCNF general meetings.
- Work on press and PR issues. This will include making contact with local press and producing occasional ‘good news’ press releases and will be a focus of the communications sub-group.
- Organise events that are friendly and provide some social activity.
- Produce GCNF banners.
- Produce eye catching notices of meetings and events. These will be put up on notice boards and in windows of blocks of flats, local community centres, the school, shops, pubs and supermarkets.
How will you know if your communication methods and strategy is working well?
- More people will have taken part in and contributed to GCNF meetings and events.
- The number of people who know about the GCNF will have increased.
- More people will have contacted GCNF about what it is doing.
- GCNF will have gained some good press coverage.
- A strong sense of community ownership will be expressed in our Local Plan.
- A good relationship will have been developed with the LLDC.
- Good contact will have been made with other Neighbourhood Forums.