Cool Blue was tasked with getting the tight-knit community to buy into the idea that it would be better to knock down the development and build new homes rather than carry out repairs, despite the fact that the residents would lose their homes and be temporarily re-housed for up to a year.
We took an ‘anti-PR’ approach in order to engage directly with the local community and get them on board with the proposals.
The local primary school was at the heart of the community, with children or grandchildren from the estate attending, meaning it was an ideal location to reach the community’s adults.
We set up a series of local events, including one with the theme ‘Cleadon Park is Go’, chosen as it coincided with the release of a new Thunderbirds movie. Children got to see the film and they made their own Tracy Island models, which were displayed in the town hall. The models were shown on the regional TV news and the children shared their views on what they’d like the new estate to look like – it was the first time the estate had been on TV for positive reasons.
Our team organised workshops for local residents and they had the opportunity to get involved with key decisions such as the naming of the new streets and the type of street furniture, landscaping and lighting that would be used.
The Partnership wanted to hold a recruitment fair to address the issue of worklessness on the estate, so our team held it at the primary school – incorporating fun activities for children that would attract attendees – and invited Big Brother winner Craig Phillips to give a talk. He spoke about his background and experience creating real engagement with the audience.