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Local 2.0 Project Update

March 1, 2010

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me and it’s about time I updated everyone on where we are with the project. Over the last couple of weeks I have spent time in both King’s Lynn and Huddersfield working with our local authority partners. Thanks go out to Dave Briggs who joined us for a day in King’s Lynn in return for a foot-long Subway sandwich.

I spent most of my time talking to council officers and a few residents, trying to find out how social technology could help meet the needs of the communities we are focusing on. Kirklees Council are already doing loads of work in this field and we will be connecting with existing initiatives and filling the gaps where needed. King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council are still in the early stages of figuring out what social technology means for them.

Here is an unpolished synopsis of what we are planning to do in each area:

King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council

We are working in two areas; Fairstead and Downham Market. Fairstead is a post war estate designed in the Radburn style – a place where we have worked quite a bit over the last few years. Supported by the Neighbourhood Management team, residents are quite keen to develop a website for the estate to help improve communication and interaction between neighbours as well as local services. The estate already has a few Facebook pages which will be a great place to start and I’ll be speaking to the local partnership in the next couple of weeks to discuss options for taking this forward.

In Downham Market the LSP want to do something with young people. We’re keen to do something similar to Social Innovation Camp here, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Kirklees Council

Again we’ll be working in two wards; Newsome and Dalton. As well has having a really creative Web Development Team, Kirklees are undertaking a number of specific projects around social media, including developing web portals for councillors that provides them with up-to-date information about their ward. In Newsome, we’ll be working with the Newsome Ward Community Forum to try and get residents using social media and generating their own content. In addition, the Council’s Web Development Team will create a website for Newsome that aggregates local content in one place, in order to stimulate local discussion, debate and hopefully action.

In Dalton, we’re hooking up with Thumbprint City. They have been funded by NESTA to pilot Thumbprint with local public services to see how SMS mailing lists can be used by frontline public services to, for example, engage teenage families. Whilst many big public services use bespoke SMS software, it’s not really used by community or outreach workers who are often poorly resourced.

It makes good sense for us to work with Thumbprint to make one tool work well, rather than try and do something else. We will also link in with the Neighbourhood Management team, who have been developing their own portal which will go live shortly.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Local 2.0 will concentrate on the Notting Barns ward in K&C, working with Ward Councillors and the Council’s Community Engagement team to try and develop an Area Forum that has an online and offline presence. We’re still to figure out the details so will report back once I have more. We will also be doing something around Borough wide online engagement using social technology, but this is very much in it’s infancy.

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