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  • OTHER PROJECTS..
  • Community Hubs Network: Our centres are based at the heart of their communities, offering and hosting an ever-expanding range of services, public events and activities, and spaces to meet friends and contribute to community life. Read more...
  • Inspiring Employability - Career Orienteer: Career Orienteer is our unique and pro-active response to improving back to work support. At the heart of our approach is life-coaching. Read more...
  • Inspiring Community Centres - CCWeekUK: Coming together makes a real difference in our community, and we're community-led and community owned! @CCWeekUK #loveyourcc www.facebook.com/ccweekuk Read more...
  • Inspiring Young People: Octopus is delighted to be supporting the work of London Village Network in Islington. Why?...because we just love youth-led social action. Why?...because we think there's a lot of talented young people out there. Read more...
  • Urban Wild Places : Grow wild things, grow food, grow amazing flowers, grow vegetables and herbs you've never heard of before. We love our urban communities because We Can Grow in the smallest and obscure places! Read more...
  • StayWell, LiveWell: Six of Islington's Community Hubs have come together to encourage their local communities to live healthier lifestyles... how? Read more...
  • Growing Octopus Communities: We have the Power to Change. We are committed to developing our unique Community Centre Peer Network to grow our membership! Read more...
  • Urban Wild Places: ...We Can Grow - it's a YES until we are told NO! Read more...

Marketing Strategies Programme
A bespoke organisational development programme to develop and hone valuable skills in business modelling, service costing, customer care and marketing for the hubs.

What is The Marketing Strategies Programme?

The Marketing Strategies Programme was designed to support and enhance each hub's ability to recognise it's potential and respond effectively.

It's primary purpose it to enable the Hubs to develop individual Marketing Strategies and Plans, which form a significant aspect of reviewing and strengthening their own Business Plan.

The programme of support has been designed flexibly in order to respond to individual and collective needs. Each Hub receives a minimum of 12-hours of support, which can be tailored to feature 1-2-1 support and workshops. 

The Marketing Strategies programme is designed specially for Islington's brand-new Community Hubs. Designed and delivered in partnership with Voluntary Action Islington (VAI), CENTA (a business development agency), Octopus Community Network and Islington Council.

  

Why was this programme developed?

The Community Hubs are now in a position where they have to carefully balance their commercial income (as they need to generate income rather than just seek and secure grants), and the needs of the community. The Community buildings in which they are based, and run, are their greatest asset, therefore, marketing of the building is essential to be able to:

  • Sustain, increase and diversify the space that they use to be appealing to both existing and new resident communities and user groups.
  • Explore, develop and increase the commercial selling of space to underpin the low-cost approach to provision of space/services to other user groups less able to pay.
  • Investigate ways that the space can be used to i) rent out at a low-cost to other community groups (e.g. small frontline) within whom they are developing links and partnerships, ii) build relationships between social enterprises or commercial businesses using the shared space, for future joint projects (for example), and building a bridge between the communities, rather than having them co-exist in the same space.

 

Impact of the Marketing Strategies Programme

Mini case studies

Reaching Out through Twitter

Staff at HNG knew that the organization had a Twitter account but were quite scared of using it - not really knowing what to Tweet, how to, and what the main benefits of this would be.  The Centre Manager had never used on-line social media platforms and openly questioned the value of Twitter in a professional setting, and particularly the use of this social networking medium within the voluntary sector.  Within three weeks of the first workshop and now after the Masterclass, HNG has a regularly updated Twitter feed on the front page of their website. www.hng.org.uk  and twitter.com/hollowayng

 

Customizing an Approach to Customer Care

Rachel Cole and Jacquie McKenzie, two experienced events management professionals delivered a Customer Care workshop as part of the program.  "The number of talented professional people who have given their free time to contribute to the Hubs Development Programme has been inspiring.  Securing such expertise and sharing different perspectives with the Hubs - from different sectors, has enriched the program no end. Involving an organization such as CENTA has brokered these valuable business connections." Julie Parish, Octopus Development Manager.  In all, eight people attended this session and importantly they were all 'front line' staff.  The workshop comprised of the following:

  • Brief review of Basics of customer service and definitions
  • Development of Customer service in the 21st century, more than just exchange of goods and services. Examine 3 Key elements today's managers should consider when looking at customer service for their business
  • Two critical qualities for developing a Customer Friendly environment - Effective Communication and Relationships
  • Factors affecting quality of service in terms of behaviours, skills and knowledge
  • Planning Good Customer service into a Customer charter or Code of Practice
  • Their role as managers and leaders

"It was amazing how everyone was willing to share their experiences, ideas and solutions, which really bonded a group of people, from a range of organisations doing similar things.  It was great to see how they supported one another, and were extremely keen to take this workshop to another level." Jacquie McKenzie and Rachel Cole, workshop leaders.

As a result of this workshop, it was agreed that there will be a Customer Care Masterclass, which will focus on the production of a Customer Care Manual, which then can be taken back to the organization and tweaked to fit.

 

Environmental Sustainability

About two years ago, Caxton House Community Centre set out on a journey to make their building more environmentally friendly - firstly through developing an Environmental Policy, which was swiftly put in place through an Action Plan.  "It really was not easy at first, I had to undertake a lot of convincing at Management Committee level - especially with limited resources their main concern was the extra time it would take to implement such activities, and the cost to the organization.  However, with immediate quick wins resulting in cost efficiencies, the MC were soon on board.  The Hubs programme workshop, delivered in collaboration with Islington's 'Green Light North London' team, which is funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)), provided an excellent opportunity for the Centre Manager at Caxton House, Paul Furze, to present a Case Study of his organization to other Hubs attending.  "I thought we were doing quite well with our Action Plan, but it does need to be reviewed, so with the help of Alex and his team, we will be able to do this.  We were delighted to hear of all the environmental and sustainability initiatives that are on offer, either nationally or through the borough, which I will be speaking to Alex about - as a result we hope to not only improve our building but offer services to local residents.  We were also able to explore what we considered repairs and view them in a different way - as solutions to heat conservation, for example.  It really was excellent." Sue Collins, Caxton House.

 

Embracing the Programme of Support

"Ruben, Interim Centre Manager at Elizabeth House has really embraced the programme and maximized every opportunity to gain access to the free support, tools and advice provided through it.  I think we should speak with Ruben about him and his approach to the programme and assign him a 'beacon' status.  After completing his SWOT and PEST analysis to gain a sense of the 'current situation' for his organization - identifying needs, gaps and opportunities, he immediately launched himself into the process of analyzing the financial side of the organization.  Using the tools provided through the Full Cost Recovery finance session, he has been able to review every aspect of his organization in terms of financial performance, resource allocation, maximization of facilities, and the like.  He has now completely reviewed his business plan on the basis of this information. I have spoken with Julie Parish, Development Manager at Octopus about writing Elizabeth House up as a Case Study, especially for using the Full Cost Recovery tool in the New Year."  Tas Gooden, Business Adviser, CENTA