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How good communications can help you shape your Big Local legacy

Our communications support partners reflect on the challenges and opportunities that Big Local areas are facing with their communications, and how they can support you with yours.

Are you thinking about your Big Local legacy? And how to bring your community with you on the next part of your journey? As many of you approach final few years of your Big Local work, you may have shifted your attention to focusing on the path ahead whilst also looking back to celebrate your Big Local achievements.

From working closely with Big Local areas to provide communications support over the last couple months, we’ve begun to notice some common themes. Below, we’ve outlined the communications challenges and opportunities partnerships are telling us they are currently facing and included relevant tips, resources and support opportunities.

Refreshing your mission and branding

Lots of you are in the process of setting up Community Interest Companies (CICs) and Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs). These are the organisational structures that will enable you to continue your core work and to apply for external sources of funding. As you begin to think about your legacy, there are a few communications opportunities to keep in mind:

  1. Revisit your mission and be clear about what you offer people. This has probably shifted since you started out, and the process of setting up a legacy organisation brings into sharp focus what you want to achieve in this next chapter in your story.
  2. Use your channels to talk about what’s going on now and what you plan for the future. This is about adapting how you’ve been using your channels during Big Local to fit with where you are on your journey.
  3. Bring your community with you as you create a new brand identity. If your project name includes ‘Big Local’ in the title, you may be thinking about a new name altogether, as well as describing your aims and what you offer, without talking about being a Big Local. You’ll need to think about how you bring your community with you, while offering continuity and consistency from your previous work.

This guidance from Local Trust recommends ways to communicate your close out to your community and beyond.

Reimagining your audiences

As you start to think about legacy, it’s useful to look again at your target audiences. For example, will your new legacy organisation cover a wider geographical area? Who do you need to reach now and what do you know about them?

We can help Big Local partnerships to map their audiences as part of the communications MOT we run at the start of working with Big Local areas. We can also help you to think about how you can use friendly, welcoming language to appeal to and include more people. This can be as simple as using friendly words like ‘you’, ‘yours’, ‘we’, and ‘us’, to create a sense of connection, collaboration and action.

And the advice that we’ll never ever stop giving is always put yourselves in the shoes of the people you want to reach: What do they want to know? Why is it important to them? How do they want to hear about it? What should they do next?

Telling your Big Local story

A familiar story we hear is that you’ve been heads-down, running multiple projects for several years. This has been exhausting and there hasn’t always been an opportunity to take a step back and tell the story of the change you’ve created in your communities and shout about your plans for the future.

If you’re approaching close out, now is the ideal time to mark your achievements and share your Big Local story. You will also have a valuable asset to share to make your case to future funders, by bringing your Big Local achievements to life.

To help you tell powerful stories about your Big Local, we’ve created a toolkit which covers how to write a brilliant blog, take your phone photography to the next level, podcast like a pro, how to commission a film and more.

Download our Find your voice toolkit


Support that’s tailored for you

You might have recognised some of these themes from your own project or you may well have a completely unique set of challenges.

Whatever they are, we’re happy to offer friendly, bespoke advice and practical support on all things communications.

You can fill out the form below to express interest in accessing bespoke communications support from us.

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About the author
Tamsin Curror and Peg Alexander

Tamsin and Peg are passionate communications professionals, with years of experience working to help amplify community voices and currently working with Big Local areas who want support to master their communications.