Whether we’re giving professional advice, facilitating community engagement or developing bespoke training programmes, we work to find the most effective ways to shape places for the better.
Explore examples of the work we do.
Community Engagement Projects
‘My Place’ Participatory Card Game
We developed the ‘My Place’ participatory card game in collaboration with pupils from Abbey Community College. The card game is an interactive and fun way for all age groups to frame a conversation around the quality of local places. The card game supports participants to discuss and rate local areas against 14 place criteria (eg, Appearance; Health and Wellbeing; Nature; Diversity; Family; Shelter; Access and Public Transport; Feeling Safe and Shelter) and to reflect and suggest ways to improve and enhance the chosen place.
Future of Urban Green Spaces
We worked in partnership with Periscope and Useful Projects for Northern Ireland Environment Link and National Trust to develop a vision and route map for the future of urban spaces across the region. The project was supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We led on public engagement to inform and shape the vision. We facilitated workshops and knowledge exchange with community representatives and young people from the Ballymoney Friendship and Walking Group; Willowbank Community; Newtownabbey Arts and Cultural Network; Ballymoney High School; St Patrick’s College, Dungannon; and Rathcoole Primary School. At each session the ‘My Place’ card game was utilised to encourage participants to consider the importance and quality of local parks in their areas. Four parks were identified across three council areas: Ballymoney Riverside Park, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council; Dungannon Park and Railway Park, Mid Ulster District Council; V36, Valley Park, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
Community Planning Projects
Community Engagement Strategy
Communities having a greater say in how their services are planned and delivered is at the heart of community planning. We worked with the community planning partners to explore the partnership’s aspirations and the steps which partners will take together to ensure that people can be more involved in the decisions that affect their lives. The engagement strategy sets out agreed standards, defined roles and clear actions to enhance community engagement and maximise opportunities for people to be more involved and have a meaningful say in decisions which affect their lives.
Planning Advice Projects
Planning Snakes and Ladders
Have you ever found yourself confused about how the planning system works? Our interactive Snakes and Ladders board game breaks down a complex planning scenario into bite size chunks of information. It takes players through some of the key steps which may be experienced when responding to or commenting on a major housing application in a local community – the ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ of navigating the planning system. The planning scenario involves a proposal for a housing development of 55 one-bed apartments on a piece of land zoned for open space. Local people and groups enjoyed the game at the recent Open Botanic 2023 event. Contact us if your group or organisation is interested in playing the game.
Participatory Budgeting Projects
Community Solutions to Housing and Homelessness
Investing for prevention, tailored support to plan and deliver a participatory budgeting process on the root causes of homelessness.
We supported a PB steering group including ‘Champions for Change’, people with lived experience of homelessness, to apply the PB Charter in planning and designing a PB decision-making process. Through facilitated sessions the Champions for Change were supported to plan and make decisions throughout the process from the application criteria check through to the format and programme of the decision-making event. Eight projects pitched their innovative community solutions to an audience of people working to address the root causes of homelessness including those with lived experience of the issue. Participants listened to the pitches, discussed the ideas further through an information fayre and then decided how the PB fund of £160,000 should be allocated. The process elevated the voice of those who are often furthest away from power. Six projects each received £25,000 to take forward solutions ranging from ideas to address homelessness affecting younger people and asylum seekers; peer support and advocacy services; and mentoring, training and support services addressing relationship advice, domestic abuse and violence. Two other projects received £5,000 each to further develop their idea.
Participatory Budgeting (PB) Training
We designed and delivered training to officers from across Belfast City Council and the Public Health Agency to develop understanding of participatory budgeting and how to plan and design a quality PB process. Through an interactive workshop the training introduced the concept of Participatory Budgeting; shared learning from international and local good practice; explored the PB Charter’s nine features of quality PB and how these can be planned for and applied to a PB process; and encouraged discussion, questions and shared learning.