Ways you can help your community

Week notes 23 September 2019

Posted on 23 September, 2019

This week:

  • Week 8 in numbers, a steady week

  • First Lend a hand event added

  • Latest Lend a hand event designs nearly ready to build

  • Organiser experience future vision coming on nicely

  • We’ve improved our content model and publishing workflow

  • We reviewed and synthesised our recent community insights

  • Met more organisers to share our stuff and listen to their experiences 

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 Stretford and Bollington use and which they’re not interested in. 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 us page.

Week 8 in numbers

We have 6 days to get 298 return visitors, so if you’re reading this, return to the site now (well, after you’ve read these notes).

First Lend a hand event added

We went live with our first iteration of ‘Lend a hand’ feature last week. If you remember, it looks like this:

We haven’t done any promotion but following a conversation with Natalie, we’ve encouraged a local organiser to submit their details. Congratulations Maureen, you are our first Lend a handerer! We also got some useful feedback on how usable the form is too.

Slight snag, we haven’t had a chance to build our specially designed Lend a hand  promotional page, so have used our standard What’s happening event page for the time being. 

So, if you’ve got some spare time on Saturday 28 September, lend Maureen a hand to clear overgrowth and plant some bulbs in Lostock Park.

Bulb fun

Latest Lend a hand event design

Based on Ryan’s sketches (see last week’s notes), Sam from the Web team has been turning them into designs that we can build. Here’s the work in progress:

Nice bit of salmon pink

Organiser experience future vision

Ryan has been busy this week sketching out a vision of what it could be like for organisers to use Co-operate. From these sketches he’ll create some designs that bring it to life. It’s helpful for us to do this from time to time to help visualise our aims and ambitions. A picture paints a thousand words. 

Post-it heaven

Improvements to content model and publishing workflow

It’s been a while since we looked at the publishing workflow for adding and maintaining events in What’s happening.

With the arrival of Jacques it seemed an appropriate time to revisit since he’s new to the process.

It was good to know that the existing publishing workflow is holding up well. Though it definitely needed a few tweaks so we created some tickets this week to improve the process.

Rachel’s original sketch of the workflow has now changed from:

Top workflowery

Future wish list

  • Use a serverless form to post Add an event directly into Contentful

  • Send automated email to let users know event has been added

  • Provide a choice of photos for users to select if they don’t have one of their own

  • Automated removal of expired events

Improvements for now

  • Suggest an edit (to event listing) feature 

  • Add a notes feature to Contentful to keep a log of event/organiser communications

  • Enable deploy to prod when events published

  • Add poster upload to add an event form and poster download feature on event detail page

Harnessing community insights

Anne and Natalie have been with us for a few weeks now, and regularly bring back a wealth of insights and opportunities. We’ve been worried that these are stacking up before we’re getting a chance to use them in our decision making. So this week, they spent some time with Vicky (our user researcher) and began to group and theme all the insights we now have.

This is what harnessing insight looks like

They took the whole team through where they were up to, and among many things, we learnt that there’s a problem area we were missing from our plans. We didn’t have anything that helps potential organisers gain the confidence to take their ideas forward. Well it’s in our plans now.

Anne’s insights

Anne has been researching Trafford’s council-led local infrastructure initiatives, as we could help them with their aims while accelerating the growth of Co-operate. She’s started by looking at The Trafford Partnership.

The Trafford Partnership has initiatives like the Strong Communities Board, Inclusive Growth Board, Health & Wellbeing Board, Safer Trafford Partnership, and the Community of Trafford.

By filtering down through each of these structures she’s finding key initiatives supporting the development of local frontline services.

These networks create valuable links enabling access to resources and information targeting key areas of need and issues within local communities like funding to address hate crime, interfaith networking, community cohesion and anti-social behaviour. 

Easy access to these types of funds can enable potential local organisations and organisers to take action. While this information would be valuable to potential local organisers, the majority of initiatives like these are aimed at supporting established registered charities and not-for-profit organisations. These are sometimes too over-facing and complex for local community organisers or potential organisers.

We’re looking to partner with some of these initiatives to see if Co-operate can help them reach more grassroots organisers and groups. Perhaps by making it easier to find via the Co-operate website.

Where’s Natalie been?

“My week started off with meeting Pam who is starting Sherenades Dance Troupe in Stretford this week, and already runs a successful dance troupe in Urmston. I was interested to understand the challenges that Pam had encountered while trying to set up in Stretford.

Pam used What’s happening to advertise the start of her group after seeing Facebook advertising, and thought that the one stop approach for knowing what was going on in the area was great. 

I went to meet Andy, who is the organiser of the really successful Mossley SOUP event which is run from Emmaus Mossley. SOUP is all about empowering people in the community, through micro funding for community projects that pitch at a SOUP event over soup and bread.

Andy thought What’s happening instinctively could be used as a tool for social prescribing. With the work that he does through Emmaus Mossley he has met some really vulnerable and socially isolated people. He believes something as simple as knowing what's going on in your community and what support networks are out there could be a huge resource. 

Met the lovely co-chairs of St Matthew’s Friends and Family – Catherine and Sarah. They’re trying to make the school “the best it can be” for all the children that attend through building links with the local community.

A lot of opportunities were identified with some of the products that Co-operate has on its roadmap. They were really interested in the idea of skills match, and talked about it at the simplest level of someone just coming in and sharing their job or life experiences with the children. Catherine also talked a lot about advice and having a network they could talk to for support.

Finally, after a busy week of meeting really interesting people, I met Sue who is the Managing Director of Cheeky Cherubs in Urmston, a community interest company (a business with primary social objectives where any profit is reinvested back into the business and the community).

Sue was really interested in how we pitched our lend a hand opportunities, looking at volunteering from a more social perspective. She might try that tactic herself to see if it is more fruitful. She thought that Co-operate was a great idea, and thought that the Co-op was the right business to be delivering it. That they were “truly going back to their roots”.

Thanks Natalie

And finally... we have a primary nav

This is big news in our web world. It shows that our chrysalis of an events listing website is starting to transform into the butterfly that is Co-operate. 🦋

I think I need a lie down.


Posted by Ben on 23 September, 2019