It’s a first of its kind for Content Comms as we have our first ever guest blogger. Taking on the mantle for the first, but hopefully not last, time is Nicola Rae, Marketing Officer at Harrow Council.
Nicola was only too pleased to share more information about Harrow’s recently launched ‘How to’ initiative and in particular their innovative approach to publishing video guides for volunteers to become more involved in their local communities.
Harrow ‘How to’ Online Volunteer Guide by Nicola Rae, Marketing Officer, Harrow Council
Many people want to get more involved with their community but don’t know how or where to begin. This is the conclusion Harrow Council came up with after the responses received from residents and locals who took part in the research.
As a result, the ‘How to’ guides (www.harrow.gov.uk/howto) were launched in March 2012, making use of online and video technology to showcase ten different ways to get involved – from organising street parties, to running a sports group and setting up a community enterprise.
An interactive mobile enabled microsite was designed which hosts ten ‘How To’ video guides where you can watch members of the community talk through how to get started, what to do and who to contact.
The ultimate aim of the project is to show residents how to volunteer and in doing this we did not want it to be the Council telling people what to do and how to do it, and so we scoured the community to find real Harrow residents to become the faces of the guides. These Community Experts are already carrying out this work; they then share their knowledge through the guides by offering practical tips and advice on how to get started.
The use of video was an innovative concept for the Council, and the emphasis on keeping it about the community fitted in with the Council’s vision of listening, leading and involving.
As part of the project, we also developed a Volunteering Directory for prospective volunteers to complement the ‘how to’ guides. This was in response to residents’ feedback where they told us that they were not aware of the volunteering opportunities available and wanted one place where they could go to source this information. Now, those wishing to look for volunteering opportunities can search through a one-stop-shop which lists thousands of fantastic opportunities both locally and regionally. This in turn provides an excellent service for voluntary organisations looking for volunteers.
The impact of the project was to raise the profile of volunteering in the borough and to celebrate Harrow’s volunteers; it has also succeeded in demonstrating the Council’s role as a facilitator. It has helped to change the face of volunteering and show that there are many different ways to get involved. A key part of this has been making it easier for residents to find out where the opportunities are and additional support for local community groups and charities to fill their vacancies.
For more information contact Communications Team, Harrow Council.
(If you’d like to write a guest blog for Content Comms, particularly around a project that involves the creation of digital content then please get in touch. Thanks.)