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Communications guidance

November 2015

This guidance is to help with the conversation you're having about Big Local in your area.

You need to make it easy for people to get involved, and keep them informed about what you’re doing, so that they can contribute and give feedback. This is important because Big Local is about the whole area, not just about a group. By involving as many people as possible, you will have the best chance of achieving lasting change and making your area an even better place to live.

How to do it

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There are lots of ways of communicating with people - word of mouth, printed publicity, events, local media (press, TV and radio) and social media (Facebook, Twitter).

Start by thinking about the people who live and work in your area: what they do, where they go and how they can find out about Big Local. Parent-and-baby groups are opportunities for a chat; Facebook and other social media are ways to connect; so are your local shops, and library or GP surgery; and the local newspaper will drop on the doormat of thousands of residents. Then there are local groups and organisations, such as tenants’ and residents’ associations, schools, clubs, the local council, the police, businesses, housing associations, community groups and charities.

Keeping people informed and inviting feedback

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Making sure people are informed is key to the success of Big Local. If they know what's going on, even if it’s a behind-the-scenes activity, they will be more likely to support Big Local, and more likely to want to get more involved.

And, conversely, the reason for most of the queries, concerns or complaints we get about Big Local is that people are in the dark about what's happening. When there's no information, they speculate about how Big Local funding is being used and whether it's appropriate, and often come to misinformed conclusions. So the best approach is to communicate openly and transparently about what you are doing.

There are many different ways to do this, both face-to-face and online. For example:

  • a website or blog, for posting regular updates and good news (such as how local groups have benefitted from small grants from a community chest),
  • a Facebook page, for sharing pictures and stories of Big Local activities,
  • a Twitter feed, for promoting events or circulating a survey/questionnaire
  • regular coffee mornings, with free or low-cost refreshments, where people can drop in and have a chat.

So, for example, St Matthews Estate Big Local area in Leicester has an interactive map which shows where and how the funding is being used to meet the priorities which were agreed by the community. My Clubmoor in Liverpool has a designed newspaper which is available in print or online. And Allenton Big Local partnered with a local publishing company to support students at a local school to be involved in communications and marketing of Big Local though a media group.

Events are a great way for the wider community to find out what you’re up to, and for people to give feedback while taking part - though you may need to work at getting a good turnout. When St James Street Big Local organised a ‘JumbleTrail’ (where people set up stalls outside their homes) they printed leaflets and posted them through doors. But they found that people didn’t notice the leaflets. Then they discovered that, if they knocked on their neighbours' doors to invite them to take part and handed them a leaflet, this really helped spread the word - and even got people signing up to host their own stall!

Canvey Island Big Local also got a poor response, when they held their open annual general meeting. They publicised it widely and put on a buffet, but the community stayed away. So they decided to try a different approach, and ran a free, fitness fun day instead. They got local groups to provide demonstrations and activities, and local services to offer free health checks. The event attracted over 250 people and provided a great opportunity to talk to people about Big Local and local priorities. You can read more about it here.

Further guidance

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Click for more help with:

Click to access downloadable resources:

Logos and acknowledging support

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Big Local areas are required to acknowledge the Big Lottery Fund by using the logo on publicity materials. This is so that people who take part in Big Local activities know that the funding comes from the Big Lottery Fund. You can download the logo and guidelines here.

We also encourage areas to use the Local Trust | Big Local logo on publicity materials and press releases, though this is not a requirement. You can download the logo here.

Many Big Local areas create their own names and logos. You can see some examples on our Flickr.

If you are not using a Big Local logo, you should mention Big Local in your publicity to associate yourselves with the wider programme.

Download guidance

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