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Building on existing engagement and collaboration in Brookside

The importance of using existing networks

October 2016

Brookside Big Local built on existing networks of volunteers as a springboard for action. People on the estate were already used to working together and getting things done, but they also had other commitments. Collaboration and mutual support were essential.

For example, a pre-existing Be Active group needed new funding to continue offering sports activities such as zumba, trampoline, martial arts, fit steps and badminton. Big Local offered the group financial support while it transitioned to a self-funding model. Doing so preserved a group that was benefiting the estate and also helped the Big Local partnership to engage new people. 

What people say

‘It only takes a small group of people to get together and be passionate about the same sort of thing to set a spark.’

‘If you’re asking someone to engage on a voluntary basis, make sure you look after them and make sure you support them well.’

Top tips from Brookside Big Local

  • Partnerships should be patient, thoughtful and listen whilst trying to engage the community and build on existing activity.
  • Remember that the vast majority are volunteers and groups should be mindful of people other’s commitments.
  • Be realistic: not everyone is going to agree with what you say or what Big Local does and the decisions arrived at, and the partnership needs to learn to accept that.  

Research insight

Researchers from NCVO found a spread of factors that their case study Big Local areas identified as important to effective engagement, with visible results being the most popular. By pointing to tangible projects or successful campaigns it was felt to be easier to get more people on board.

Find out more

For more information, download the case study PDF below. This case study was prepared as part of NCVO’s research Community engagement within Big Local

Download case study

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