Week notes 15 November 2019

Posted on 15 November, 2019

This week... 

  • Finished the content for all 5 sections of our ‘How to...’ guide  

  • Built out the Contentful model for our ‘How to...’ content    

  • Prioritised the ‘How to...’ content modules  

  • Established how we want to trial using Intercom 

  • Added Altrincham as a location to What’s happening  

  • Talked with Greater Manchester anchor organisations  

  • Attended Locality conference  

Co-operate background 

Stronger communities are at the heart of the Co-op strategy, so we’re going to completely reinvent what commercial, community partnerships should be. 

Being a co-op, we believe that more co-operation will improve our local communities. 

Co-operation is harder than it needs to be, so we're going to make it easier. 

The idea is that we build an initial range of tools or features and learn which ones truly impact a community. These tools need to be as real as we can make them so we can really understand what users do, instead of what they might tell us. 

Find out more on our About page. 

Finished the content for all 5 sections of our ‘How to’ guide 

We’re building a ‘how to’ section on Co-operate to help organisers with common problems. One of those is organising a community event. This content will help make existing organisers more efficient and run better events in their community so that more people turn up.

But it’s also designed to help potential future organisers get off the ground by giving them the resources they need to make a positive change.  

As we speak, Rachel is finishing the last sub section of ‘Promote your event’ for our ‘How to organise a community event’ advice.  

'Promote your event’ is 1 of 5 sections Anne, Natalie and Rachel have been pair writing for the last 2 weeks.  

It all started with the research Vicky, Natalie and Anne have been expertly gathering from organisers. 

From that we defined 5 key areas organisers need help with then created granular job stories under each section so that we understood the needs our content had to meet. 

Rachel then created a Trello board to house these job stories and from that she was able to define a skeleton structure of sub headings for each section. 

It’s been a mammoth task made so much easier by Anne and Natalie’s expertise in all things ‘community’.  

We’ll be testing the content with organisers of all types in the coming weeks and making iterations based on feedback. 

Prioritised the ‘How to...’ content modules  

To start upskilling organisers with all the great content Rachel, Natalie and Anne have been writing, this week we designed and built some components. 

The content was (brilliantly) written to use as many consistent components as possible, which helps enormously with the build. But, we needed to ensure we had all the components required and every variable covered e.g. Bullet points that can be toggled to become a benefits tick list, a quote that can become a hero quote and a hero quote with and without an organiser photo... and there are many others. 

Here are some photos of how the team identified and prioritised components. 

And here’s how those things are shaping up as modular content components inside   Co-operate's Contentful space. 

We already have a good chunk of these components defined in Contentful and integrated with our templates and we’re excited to get our first pages out into the world in the next week or so. 🚀 

Intercom Integration 

We want to gather more feedback from everyone that uses Co-operate to better understand what is and isn’t working and to also see if there are opportunities that we can take advantage of. Gathering feedback is integral in making sure we build a product that our users need and enjoy, and it’s also important to make our customers feel involved in the building of that product. Intercom is a great tool that amongst its many uses can drive feedback through pro-actively messaging our customers as they use the website. We will use this, at first, to gather feedback throughout the website to get qualitative data on how people are using Co-operate and what for.  

Altrincham added as a location to What’s happening 

This week Altrincham has been added to What’s Happening, this is the fifth location we’ve featured. We have five events and activities in Altrincham, three of these repeat weekly. 

Events this week 

This week we have added six new events and two new volunteering opportunities. 

Christmas events have started to be added and one of the events that has been added to Altrincham is Christmas at A4 studios is one of the many fantastic events coming soon.  

Christmas at A4 Studios will have local artists, makers and crafters selling handmade gifts and goodies. Live music, festive food and workshops for adults and children will also be available. 

Volunteering opportunities 

The two Volunteering opportunities that have been added this week are from Cheeky Cherubs and Coppice Library. 

Cheeky Cherubs would like help with cooking and craft activities they would also like help organising games. 

Coppice Library would like help with planting hedge saplings and also planting wildflowers around the new hedge. 

Met with some Manchester Anchor organisations  

On Tuesday night we had the pleasure of meeting with some fantastic anchor and infrastructure organisations from across the Greater Manchester area including Citizens Advice Stockport, Rochdale local council representatives and those working in the grant funding space within Trafford.  

For us to achieve our ambitious vision working collaboratively with key organisations that are supporting communities is vital. Sharing what we’ve been doing, getting feedback and looking for areas of collaboration is exciting. 

If you’re reading this and want to be added to our week notes mailing list then just drop us a line. 

Natalie’s Locality Convention highlights 

Super exciting 2 days with loads of insights, guest speakers and fantastic groups, charities and organisations present! My favourite part of the convention was getting out to meet organisations in the Leeds community that are doing fantastic things! 

Firstly I visited Canopy Housing http://canopyhousing.org/  who transform empty houses in Leeds into homes for people that are at risk of becoming homeless through volunteers who carry out much of the work. This not only helps develop skills and social networks of the volunteers, provides a home for someone but also regenerates neighbourhoods to create communities. 

I got to visit one of the houses that was currently been transformed and meet some of the volunteers. It was interesting that most of the volunteers were referred to Canopy Housing through their GP, the Job Centre and Charities in order to either learn new skills or develop their confidence and social networks. This links in great with some of the conversations Co-operate is having with infrastructure organisations as building networks with them could bring us closer to the network of people who are our intended audience. 

“Before coming to Canopy my relationship with Women was awful. I have been married 5 times, always objectified women and had no idea how to talk to them. Volunteering here has given me a chance to socialise with women in a different way and learn how to speak to them again.”  

- Lee-Roy, Canopy Housing Volunteer 

Then I got to go on the Bramley Fun Bus and play some BUS BINGO....while on my way to Bramley Baths. Unfortunately I wasn’t lucky enough to win a tin of Yorkshire mushy peas or Yorkshire tea bags. 

Bramley Baths is a community led, not for profit center for fitness, health and fun. In 2011 a group of residents and organisation’s pulled together to write a business plan, fundraise and transfer the Baths over to the community, opening in 2013 as a community led social enterprise. 

Bramley Baths are truly inclusive and represent all their community, which is very different from council run swimming baths. They have elements in their timetable for disabled swimmers, deaf and hard of hearing groups, transgender groups, women only and even naturists have a slot on a Sunday evening! This is because they want the space to be truly used by their community.  

The lack of council management has also meant they can be really ingenious when it comes to the events that they put on there some of which include disco dips,  light saber swims, film screenings of finding nemo and even an orchestra playing on a float in the middle of the pool! This keeps the space relevant to the community and used! 

Anne’s Locality Convention highlights 

The Locality Convention offered a range of practical insights into effective local initiatives by visiting their premises, lived-experience and local authority speakers, along with structured workshops looking at key development areas. 

I visited Headingley Development Trust, an initiative born out of discussions in a school playground, renovating the old school building and creating a community-led initiative that has grown from strength to strength incorporating numerous community partners, health related activities, fun activities for all ages, learning opportunities and a lovely community café and art gallery.

The trust now owns the local greengrocers after it faced closure along with a community orchard and farmers market. Alongside the wide range of services, courses and groups they deliver in partnership in the old school they regularly run external initiatives around things like graffiti and street art, food and craft fairs, and recently ran a car free day closing local roads to enable activities in the heart of communities.  

I then attended 2 workshops, the first on measuring social impact and the second on engaging the wider community. Both were very interesting, poignant and thought provoking, with valid points coming from many different perspectives. Notes from all of these are on the shared drive as per link below. 

There was an amazing range of inspirational speakers from many different life experiences and job roles. It was fascinating to see how it all linked together, but also to recognise the differences and challenges facing all stakeholders to increase cohesion between communities, organisations and infrastructure, always seeking ways to work together more to achieve the common aim of bringing people together. 


Posted by Rachael on 15 November, 2019