Category Archives: Community

Local market lovin’

Here’s a guest post by one of our PR interns Maria (@mpfalangi) who has spent the last year working with our team. I blogged about our interns ages ago (see here) and they’ve proved a real breath of fresh air. Now that they’re about to leave we’re really going to miss them. Here, Maria talks about one of the projects she’d been working on.

Who doesn’t love a good local market? This fortnight is an opportunity for both traders and shoppers to be part of something bigger.

picture3

Background
Northumberland’s markets are taking part in the 2013 national Love Your Local Market campaign which is led by the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) and backed by Central Government and the wider market industry.

The idea for a National Market Day (which morphed into the Love Your Local Market fortnight) was one of the 28 recommendations of the Portas Review into the future of the UK’s High Streets. Love your local market is a celebration of local markets in the UK, bringing old and new traders together under the same brand.

The council is supporting the campaign, which is in its second year and is running for two weeks from May 15 to May 29. The fortnight aims to attract new market traders and to highlight the importance that markets play in the heart of the local community, not only for retail but as a valuable community asset that provides a focal point of many of the county’s town centres.

Where we are now
National Market Fortnight in Northumberland is celebrated in many ways: budding entrepreneurs had the opportunity to try out market trading for just a tenner to provide opportunities for new and start-up businesses. A number of free pitches were also available at Northumberland markets to small business owners who want to make their mark in the market and bring a new product to the towns’ shoppers.

Through a scheme called First Pitch, candidates were asked to submit an idea for a product or service that they thought they could sell at their local market. Small business owners of the future could trade on any market in Northumberland for up to 12 months at discounted rent and be given personalised support from the NMTF.

Graham Wilson OBE, chief executive of the National Association of British Market Authorities stated that their intention was to make Love Your Local Market 2013 the biggest and best market campaign the UK has ever seen. Indeed, the campaign has smashed all expectations with over 660 markets participating this year, creating nearly 3,000 events across the country during LYLM 2013.

The campaign
Love your local market is helping the high street evolve, nurturing new generations of entrepreneurs and bringing fresh ideas and new faces into local markets.

But it isn’t only about giving a start to a new generation of retail entrepreneurs. It’s about celebrating the role of markets in sustaining town centres and communities. They have a key role to play and can be a significant economic driver in the success of a town, as they help to increase footfall and bring extra business to the town, benefiting the local traders and complementing what’s already available.

Shopping at a local market is a social experience, a far cry from a rushed trip to a supermarket. Markets have the power to bring new life to an area and showcase wonderful rural products, which all need our support. From fresh fruit and vegetables to the finest fabrics – Northumberland’s markets have something for everyone!

So why not rediscover your local market this fortnight? Bag yourself a bargain, while at the same time helping to support your local town. New products are also always welcome as they are a breath of fresh air and Northumberland County Council’s award winning markets support new traders all year round.

Need any help deciding which market to visit? Get a taste of Northumberland’s markets (with pictures, location and product details, even vacancies) or visit our dedicated Pinterest board.

*As published in http://adaywithoutoj.com/2013/05/23/guest-post-local-market-lovin


Tips on social media for local government

 

In some cases local government and social media don’t mix. Many councils haven’t been actively using Facebook and Twitter and that has to change. It can be a long and complicated process. Here are some tips to get you started.

by Maria Loupa 

Plan ahead

  • It is vital to understand that SM should form part of an overall comms plan

A comms strategy should be already in place and social media will be integrated gradually into it.

You need to comprehend the mentality behind each channel; each organisation is completely different and tools need to be customised to its needs. You need to experiment and see what works; different tools might apply to particular campaigns.

  • You need to consider your social media involvement carefully; once you decide to go for it, you have to go all the way.

As we recently heard from #RUDay ‘You can’t be half pregnant’. If you are not prepared to put the resource and effort behind social media, maybe it’s not for you. Lack of time shouldn’t be an excuse, as social media are gradually becoming part of the press office duties at the very least. Tweetdeck, Sendible and the likes can be used to schedule posts.

Don’t forget that social media channels have to run as a constant campaign, which is occasionally customised to each project’s purposes; messages have to be consistent and coherent and a combination of the tools helps achieve best results.

  • There has to be at least one devoted social media person able to understand how social media work, and you might want to start considering implementing a social media policy or guidelines for the rest of the staff as well.

Tweets and posts can for sure be deleted, but once they go live they can be retweeted and shared, and there’s no recovering them. Also, people respond best to authentic communication; so it’s advisable to use a more personal tone even on official profiles- in moderation-.

Keep in mind that it is best not to have more than 3 accounts in each channel because it will be hard to keep them regularly updated, plus it will confuse people and discourage them from using them

  • Evaluation and measurement

Evaluation is part of the planning procedure; what is the point of implementing a strategy if you can’t measure whether it’s effective or not? The key principles of social media presence are: Listen, Measure Understand and Engage, and you will definitely need an evaluation and measurement tool to follow them. The list is endless, you just have to find which one works for your organisation:  Google analytics, Tweetstats, Backtype, Nearbytweets Netvibes Social Oomph, Radian6, Sprout social, Hoot suite, Google Insights, Social Mention,  Sysomos… even Facebook Insights can get you started!

Most of them can produce reports, conduct comparison with competitors, search conversation history, etc. and give the opportunity to:

i.         check the competition- see how other councils are doing; there is hardly any virgin birth anymore, so why not see what worked best for someone else and give it a try.

  ii.         Monitor conversations about your council; what is your audience and what do they say about you? You could even use Twitter’s much under-estimated Search feature for that.- Understand your audience in order to be able to engage with them effectively.

Practical tips

Facebook:

  1. Works best to promote future events/announcements, as it allows more long-term involvement on thread.
  2. Competitions/surveys are also most effective on Facebook, as it allows for more visual elements; an image is more powerful and will generate much more click-troughs than plain text.
  3. The first few lines are the most important ones; hook your audience, use capitals, slogans & abbreviations if necessary to keep their attention and click through to read more. If you are including a link (esp. to link back to your website or your other social media channels), make sure it’s within these lines.

If the link is too long or confusing use a Bitlly or Tinyurl to shorten links and make them more memorable. Customising links will make evaluation easier too as they can be better used by the relevant tools; by allowing you to access analytics and see how many people are clicking on your links. This is information that you often wouldn’t have access to when posting links on social channels.

4. There is a time and a place for everything. Avoid posting to Facebook after 8 p.m. and before 8 a.m., and on the weekend.

Links posted from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. result in the highest average click through, with the peak time of the week being Wednesday at 3 p.m.

5. Communicate information without spamming; the last thing people want is log on to Facebook to find an endless line of posts from the council on their Timeline; they will most likely either unlike the page or they can now customise their settings to hide updates from your pages.

 For Twitter:

  1. The old KISS rule applies (Keep it short and sweet) – Tweets must be under 140 characters, however try and keep it around 120/125 to allow for re-tweets.
  2. Use abbreviations where possible to avoid wasting characters- use figures and symbols where possible.

Sometimes grammatical sins have to be committed, but due to the nature of the organisation they have to be kept at a minimum- opt for most widely used abbreviations instead of making new ones up!

Twitter works best with real time events/announcements and a more Q & A approach, and can be very effective to start conversations and initiate two-way communication. Since it is by nature much faster paced than Facebook, it is possible for people to skim past tweets and miss them. In order to tackle that and remind to your audience of an event, it is advisable to tweet about it multiple times with slight word variations but in moderation- avoid spamming.

3. Use dedicated hash tags for specific campaigns, or whenever you consider it appropriate, in order to increase the visibility of your tweets

4. Part of Twitter savoir-faire- If you retweet someone, add RT; if you RT  and edit it change the RT to MT

5. The best time to post to Twitter is in the afternoon, early in the week—from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.The peak traffic times, are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Last but not least, both Facebook and Twitter can be used to drive traffic to the website and as excellent customer service tool.

Any feedback or additional thoughts will not just be welcome but appreciated!

Maria Loupa is comms intern at Northumberland County Council.

*As published in http://twoheads.squarespace.com/comms2point0/2012/12/20/tips-on-social-media-for-local-government.html


Newcastles of the World 2012

Visitors from a dozen different Newcastles will gather in the original Newcastle in the last week of July. Around 70 delegates from “Newcastles of the World” will be getting together in Newcastle upon Tyne to discuss their branding and marketing and to explore setting up a joint Newcastles tourism initiative, with everyone promoting the other Newcastles as well as their own as a place to visit and invest in.

 John Nicolaou, once a resident of Newcastle but now living in Spain and the man behind the idea of bringing all the Newcastles together, said “I’m delighted that Newcastle upon Tyne will now be host to many of the towns and cities around the world who take or share our name”.

Delegates at the conference will also be taking part in a range of cultural projects that have been in progress over the past few months. There’s an exhibition at the City Library of photographs, films and postcards from the different Newcastles, and a publication of poetry to be launched, with poems about each Newcastle contributed by local writers.

Each school is also studying a different Newcastle from around the world, and they will share their projects with the visiting delegates, as well as making a welcome pack for them about Newcastle upon Tyne. This will be part of a more permanent link being developed with a school from the visiting Newcastle.

An even bigger project is the “Song for Newcastle”. Performers in Newcastles in Australia, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, and the USA, as well as Newcastle upon Tyne and Newcastle-under-Lyme in the UK have been writing, singing and filming their Song for Newcastle, all based upon the words and music of well-known local song “Home Newcastle” by “Busker”, the late Ronnie Lambert.  Busker’s song, about a Geordie exile homesick for Newcastle, has become a toon army anthem and is still often played at St James’ Park. The different international interpretations of Home Newcastle will be edited into a single version to be performed at the Newcastles conference.

Hazel Lambert, Ronnie’s widow, said “Ronnie would have been thrilled at the idea that people in other Newcastles around the world wanted to take part in this project based on his famous song and to write and sing about their Home Newcastle. I’ve been pleased to support this initiative and I look forward to hearing their versions and the final edit of the song.”

The “home” version of “Home Newcastle” is being sung by Voicebeat – a community choir based at The Sage Gateshead that  explores different musical styles, including gospel, reggae, pop and folk traditions from around the world. Other versions are being sung in gospel style by the Northern Kwazulu Natal Youth Choir choir in Newcastle, South Africa; by a school choir in New Castle, Indiana USA; by a men’s harmony singing group (“Novatones”) from Newcastle New South Wales in Australia; by the Leuchtfeuer (“Beacon”) youth choir in Neuburg an der Donau, Germany;  by a male voice choir in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and with an instrumental version by a youth showband Les Amourins in Switzerland.

The poetry and the Song for Newcastle will come together on Monday 23rd July at Newcastle’s Live Theatre for the “Night on the Tyne”, featuring the poets, with musicians and clog dancers and also Ouseburn Young Voices, a choir of young people from schools in the east end of Newcastle.

Delegates will also be using the time here to create a “proggy mat” depicting different types of castle turrets, with the help of the “Woodhorn Matters”. The Proggy (or clippy) mat is a rug-making technique traditional to the North East of England. The mat will be produced at the Newcastles conference by members of the public who can have a go, as well as by the delegates. Once complete it will be displayed at Newcastle Civic Centre and Newcastle Cathedral before going on to the other Newcastles.

The delegates will be welcomed to Newcastle with a service at the Cathedral on the morning Sunday 22 July, followed by a parade (with children from local schools) through the city from Eldon Square, along Northumberland Street to the civic centre. There they will open a “friendship garden” which is being designed by apprentice gardeners from the Newcastle city nurseries, before going on to the Mansion House for a welcome event with music and dancing from local performers.

Several of the Newcastle will be sending delegates from their youth councils, and they will have their own events hosted by Newcastle’s Youth Council. “We will have a welcome party, meeting up with young people from this Newcastle” said Gerry Hunwick of The Children’s Society. “We’ll also have important discussions between us on the global environmental challenges and how the voice of young people should be heard on this and other issues; about how young people can set up their own businesses and about perceptions of young people in the media”.

You can download the full programme of activities here

Programme

For more information and updates about the events

http://www.facebook.com/nclsoftheworld

https://twitter.com/NCLsoftheworld

http://newcastlesoftheworld.wordpress.com/


Creativity captured through Jesmond’s snapshots

Library hosts local photography exhibition as part of festival. Watch this slideshow by Maria Loupa and Nelly Stavropoulou

Jesmond Methodist Church’s photography exhibition, titled “Photos of Jesmond”, demonstrated local artistic creativity as residents submitted photographs that illustrated Jesmond’s identity.

The entries ranged from snapshots of Jesmond Dene’s serene landscapes, to festival-inspired moments and shots of some of Jesmond’s most iconic buildings.

Chris Coleman of Jesmond Methodist Church, one of the key organisers of the event, commented on the quality and diversity of the exhibition, saying that the entries demonstrated the community’s high engagement. He told JesmondLocal: “The conception behind the exhibition was simply to try and capture a sense of the community of Jesmond in photographs and celebrate it.”

Coleman expressed his satisfaction and appreciation to all participants. Watch our audio-slideshow to get a taste of the exhibition’s photos, accompanied by visitors’ comments.

*As published in http://jesmondlocal.com/2012/05/creativity-captured-jesmonds-snapshots/

ML


JesmondLocal organizes first Bootcamp as part of Jesmond Community Festival

Newcastle Cricket Club welcomed the future community journalists of Jesmond last Wednesday

On the 2nd of May specialists, students and boot campers came together to explore the community journalism possibilities. It was an enjoyable and mutually beneficial evening; the participants got to know each other better and exchanged stories and knowledge.

The first half hour was focused on explaining the purpose of these boot camps and the role of community journalists in general, by Ian Wylie from JesmondLocal. These meetings are an opportunity for residents of Jesmond to get their stories told, through different media routes.

Hyper-local is more alive than ever; regional news aren’t as local as they used to be, leaving a gap for people who are interested in matters taking place next to their doorstep and not to the other end of the country.

Any story can be of interest to a group of people: from a local street performer to local elections, as long as the narrator is passionate about it. Using online tools makes it possible for everyone to become a storyteller, share their views and experiences. It’s fast, easy and –for the most part- free. Pictures, audio and video can be the story or used as part of it. The possibilities are endless; it just takes a few hours to familiarize yourself with this new set of interactive and shareable tools.

Further on, Adam Perry of Media Trust provided some helpful tips on shooting video, particularly video interviews, with just a camera phone. He stressed the importance of preparing the interview in advance; you should think about where best to shoot the video (light, background noise, etc.), write down some questions, and think about how you will introduce and end the interview. The focus should be put on the story telling and not on getting the perfect shot; it’s all about the message and not the medium that you chose. Practice makes better and these bootcamps are held to prove that people don’t need ridiculously expensive equipment to be heard; simple items used in everyday life and free apps will do the trick!

The second part of the boot camp was more practical, with students and bootcampers paired up and worked in teams to shoot some short audio and video interviews. Students shared their advice with bootcampers, some of whom experimented with video for the first time. One of the bootcampers said “I didn’t even know how to use my phone camera before” and another was enthusiastic enough to immediately upload it on YouTube!

By the end of the session, the teams brainstormed ideas for possible topics. Each bootcamper was left with some advice and the challenge to decide on a story regardless of specific subjects or ways of telling it; it could be anything they find interesting and could be told either through video, audio or photos. A final result should be presented by the end of the last bootcamp.

Next Wednesday’s bootcamp is expected to be even more lively providing hands-on practice. With some new boot campers added to the team, we will be taking a look at the role of social media in story telling.

For those who missed the first bootcamp and are interested in more information about video journalism, you can visit:

http://newsnet.mediatrust.org/howto/multimedia-journalism

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/school_report/resources_for_teachers/8393367.stm

ML

*Parts of it published in http://issuu.com/jesmondlocal/docs/jcf_090512?mode=window&backgroundColor=%23222222 under the title “Storytellers in training”

or check below:


Blues night gets the festival foot-stomping – video

Oxfam treats locals to night of live music for a charitable cause. Maria Loupa and Charlotte Krol report

Ben WatsonThe 78s and Spanish Battery rocked the opening weekend of the Jesmond Community Festival with lively sets at a blues night in the British Legion Club. The acts entertained the audience with a variety of roots music, ranging from traditional and acoustic blues to blues-rock and Americana.

All proceeds from the event went towards Jesmond Oxfam Books and Music’s Trailtrekker team, who are walking 100km in 30 hours around the Yorkshire Dales for charity on 26th May.

The Oxfam Blues Night is one of many music events taking place during the Jesmond Community Festival. Have a peek at some of Saturday evening’s performances here:

*As published in http://jesmondlocal.com/2012/05/blues-night-festival-footstomping-video/

ML


JesmondLocal presents Musical Flash Mob

As community festival approaches, local choirs take to the streets. Watch this video report by Alexandra Carr, Maria Loupa and Nelly Stavropoulou

Jesmond shoppers were greeted with an unexpected musical treat on Saturday morning (21st April) when a “flash mob” choir serenaded passers-by outside Oxfam, Waitrose and Pizza Express.

The purpose of this performance was to raise awareness for the upcoming Jesmond Community Festival, providing a taste of the various events running from 27th April to 14th May.

Chris Clarke, treasurer of Jesmond Community Forum and company secretary of Jesmond Community Leisure, told JesmondLocal: “Many people know about the concerts that are going on inside buildings, like inside a church hall, but unless you actually get out on the streets, a lot of other people don’t really know what’s going on. So the idea is to attract the attention of the people who don’t go to churches or schools.”

Those who participated in Saturday’s musical performance, organised by conductor Jonathan Scott, came from a number of different choirs in the north east, including the Jesmond Choral Group and the Tynemouth Priory Singers. Festival attendees can expect to hear more from these choirs during a performance of Dvorak’s Requiem on 3th0 April, which will also be conducted by Scott.

This is the first year a musical “flash mob” has been performed before the community festival.

For more information on the festival, please visit www.jesmondfestival.org.uk or have a look on our own festival page here.

ML


Entries now open for photography exhibition

Jesmond Methodist Church seeking illustrations of community life, report Maria Loupa and Nelly Stavropoulou

collage d'anonymes

As part of this year’s Jesmond Community FestivalJesmond Methodist Church will be organising a photography exhibition, which will be launched shortly after the beginning of the festival on 27th April and run until 5th May.

The exhibition organisers are calling for entries regardless of photographic skills and level of expertise, as long as the photographs are taken in Jesmond throughout the year. Chris Coleman of the Jesmond Methodist Church told Jesmondlocal: “We hope it will illustrate the various events that take place here and give an impression of what life in this community is like. Jesmond Methodist Church feels very much a part of the community and we want to celebrate with it throughout the Festival”.

The photographs can be either colour or black and white and must be printed on A5 size photographic paper. Participants can submit a maximum of six photographs and provide titles and the name of the photographer. The photographs that best depict Jesmond’s identity will be selected by a committee and presented at the exhibition.

Chris Clarke, member of the festival organising group said: “When we heard about this idea, we thought that it would add a great extra ingredient to this year’s festival. I very much hope that as many people as possible will respond to the request for photographs”.

Entries must be submitted by 15th April to Christopher Coleman at 16 Churchill Gardens, Jesmond, Newcastle, NE2 1HB.

For more information contact Chris Coleman at: mrctcoleman@gmail.com

ML

Friends of St George’s organises vintage clothing event

Fashion enthusiasts gather in Jesmond next weekend in support of church, reports Maria Loupa

#098. Your favorite article of clothing

The Friends of St George’s will host a vintage clothing event at 2pm on Saturday 10th March in St George’s Church Hall that will include an illustrated talk by Judith Liddell, an experienced collector of and expert on vintage clothes and accessories. The topic will be “The development of fashion over the past 100 years” and Liddell will be using photographs and live models to display selected items from her own collection.

The venue is a good match for the vintage atmosphere of the event. St George’s, built in the late 1880s, is a local architectural landmark, listed as grade one by English Heritage and containing examples of Arts & Craft style: mosaics, stained glass and woodwork.

There will be an entrance fee of £5 on the door, which will include refreshments - tea or coffee and cakes. A raffle will also take place, with a prize donated by Liddell. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in their own vintage clothing and bring along any vintage items to show and share with others interested in all things vintage. Organisers say the event will offer the opportunity to network and find out about vintage shop and outlets, in and around the area of Newcastle.

The Friends of St George’s organises a range of events such as concerts, musical events, family events, social events, talks and lectures which are open to the public. It is a charity set up to expand the role of St George’s in the wider community and to support the maintenance and improvement of the church building, and ancillary buildings used by the church congregation and the wider public.

For those interested in supporting their cause and joining the Friends team, there is a £10 subscription fee and in return members are granted a reduction on the entry costs of most events.

*As published in http://jesmondlocal.com/2012/03/friends-st-georges-organises-vintage-clothing-event/.

ML


Celebrate Christmas early with Globe Café

Local Christians to take 50 international students to the Lake District next weekend, reports Maria Loupa

Photograph: Globe Cafe

A local church is offering to take 50 international students on a weekend trip to the Lake District.

On 16th December, the Global Café, which is hosted by Jesmond Parish Church, will take the 50 students to the Bassenfell Manor in the Lake District, famous for its lakes, mountains and attractive market towns to celebrate an early Christmas (with traditional Christmas dinner).

The organisers say it will be a time full of fun and rest, activity and conversation – a chance to escape from the city.  The cost is £70 per person and includes all food, accommodation and transport. The final date for bookings is this Monday, 12th December.

Globe Café is an international students’ meeting point that takes place in Jesmond Parish Church hall. Every Monday night from 7.30 to 10.00pm free coffee is served, and an additional meal provided  for £2. A variety of activities are also organised, from “desserts from around the world” to line dancing.  The café’s organisers say they understand how arriving in a foreign country can be very challenging for many students – the difference in customs and in culture can be radical so their purpose is to help make this transition a little less painful.

They also organise day trips and weekends away, like a recent visit to Hadrian’s Wall. The café, which has been running for more than 14 years, aims to offer a welcoming and safe meeting place for international students studying in Newcastle. Students get the opportunity to meet British people, to learn about their culture and practise their English. Organised by Christians who live locally, the café aims to help international students feel more at home in Newcastle during their time here and around 120 international students visit the café every Monday night.

For more information on the trip and the café’s activities, visit Globe Cafe’s website at www.the-globe.org

*As published in http://jesmondlocal.com/2011/12/celebrate-christmas-early-globe-caf/

M.L.

 


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