One of the key issues surrounding the challenge was the disjointed relationship between the Trust and the general public. Whilst the park was widely used by dog walkers, joggers and the like there was a lack of awareness about the financial struggles and possible closure. Liaising with trustees and park management we discovered there was a clear need to bring the community together to save the space and to achieve this we needed publicity.
The financial situation for a charity is very difficult, and this was the case for the Cuerden Valley Park Trust.
Every year the Trust was using more of their invested endowment to keep the park running.
The idea was to have a Farmers Market to help raise funds.
Seamless Web and Print Campaign
Analysing the current position it was clear there was a limited web presence. With a 12 week window whilst dealing with stakeholders and sponsors we developed the idea of building a website for the Farmers' Market that would promote community cohesion and bring together the local residents.
The plan was to develop an online communication tool bringing members of the community together using a social media approach. The Cuerden Community Cohesion platform allowed stallholders to create profile pages where they could advertise the produce they would be selling at the Farmers' Market that month. Buttons linking to their own websites supported Search Engine Optimisation enhancing the page ranking of the website. So much so that the newly created site surpassed Cuerden Valley Park's own website ranking. This seamless, mutually beneficial relationship between Cuerden Valley Park Trust and its stallholders was helping to support the local community not only through the economic growth sustained during this period but the awareness created across the Lancashire area promoting the events held to prevent the closure of the park.
To ensure the Cuerden Community Cohesion portal appeared part of Cuerden Valley Park Trust we linked the park's calendar, promoting the activities and building up their presence on the web and increasing the overall reach and increased regional awareness of the charity.
To compliment the online portal we created a print media campaign that started a month prior to the initial launch. The campaign included postcards, posters and signage.
- The postcards were hand delivered throughout the neighbouring estates.
- Each stallholder received a promotional poster each month
- Local community groups and centres displayed promotional material
- Signage was displayed in safe public areas with the local council's permission
As we were responsible for the conception and production of a vast array of promotional media we sourced local printer, Sprintprint. Planning the future events and theming the postcards by months and seasons, we were able to bulk order the vast array of promotional media. By doing this we reduced the printing costs by 50%, making further savings for the Trust. As popularity for the Farmers' Market grew, and knowing the reach that we were having with the printed media, we opened the reverse of the postcard to local businesses for sponsorship. By doing this we completely covered the costs of the printing which reduced the financial implications of high quality printing and promotional media.
This publicity made the market a very successful entity which in some months brought in £2k which meant that the endowment investments retained £2k that month.
Following the success of the market, the next fundraising idea was to have a Beer Festival. This campaign was over a 4 month duration.
The first festival gave the park a profit of £6k and to quote our supplier most festivals make a loss on the first festival. There have been many more festivals since that first one, each helping the Trust keep its head above water.
During the years, working alongside Formed Space, Cuerden Valley Park Trust have been able to remain solvent. The impact had on both the park and local community could not have been achieved without their work . We successfully made the community aware of our issues in a positive way, building sustainable relationships with residents and businesses alike. Their good work increased fundraising and had a lot to do with our success. We are truly grateful. Thank you.