Southampton City Council

About the Project

We were commissioned to devise a creative engagement approach in an area where a new development meant there would be Section 106 funds available for community benefit. The council wanted to understand what this benefit might look like for local people. We were aware that benefit would be perceived differently by a range of people and therefore we needed to ensure we reached a wide audience and gather a diverse set of needs.


September 2013 – 5 days on site engaging local people in order to understand existing features and potential features that might make Woolston wonderful.

October 2013 – 2 focus group sessions bringing together a range of stakeholders to share ideas and prioritise features.

Our Tools & Approach

The timeline of the project was very short so we needed to ensure that we created a visual brand and consistent presence that would mean we had high awareness of the project and the possibility to participate and share views in order to influence local spend.

We developed a project brand called ‘We make Woolston Wonderful’ and produced comments cards, mapping tools, photoframes and edible gifts to swap for people’s insights.

We mapped out existing local groups, activities and community hubs to help us build local relationships and go to the places where people all ready go rather than expecting people to come to us. We reached people by attending markets, coffee mornings, youth clubs, parents forums, business forums, library book clubs, over 60’s clubs and residents meetings. We conducted the same insight gathering activity at each type of event so that we could extrapolate the data we gathered into some key findings.

Through the insight stage we identified themes for positive change but we wanted to bring people together from the different groups we had met in focused sessions to interrogate and prioritise changes.

The final findings were collated into a short film that could be shared locally, through the council and hosted on the websites of each of the groups we have engaged through the process. Using film as a communication tool gave us the opportunity to extend the project reach and capture people’s attention to review the interventions proposed.


From the six benefits identified through the process Southampton City Council