Independent and not-for-profit with 30 years' expertise in planning, community planning and engagement


Guide to Engagement Methods

We are pleased to share our recently developed Guide to Engagement Methods.  It provides details on methods which are most appropriate for achieving different levels of engagement and assesses the strengths, weaknesses and appropriateness of each method alongside useful tips on how to apply each one.   The clickable menu bar to the right of each page enables easy navigation throughout the Guide (as do links in the Methods Table on Page 2).  

If you are interested in finding out more about any engagement method, please contact us.  


10 January 2022

Community Development - New Toolkit

The Ashton Trust has just published a Community Development Toolkit prepared by Community Places.  Contents range from knowing your community’s needs and views to making the most of all meetings and from getting people involved to looking after finances and reputation.  The Toolkit also sets out the key ingredients of Community Development and how to establish Project Outcomes when seeking funding and identifies the benefits of collaboration with other areas, communities and groups.  It has been designed with smaller groups in mind while larger organisations will also find the advice and guidance on governance and engagement valuable.  To access the Toolkit click here.


25 October 2021

Living Spaces and Places

The National Lottery Community Fund is launching a new funding programme on 1 November 2021.  Living Places and Spaces will offer small scale capital grants (of between £1,000 and £10,000) to eligible organisations.  The aim of the programme is to support communities by creating more sustainable and resilient outdoor spaces through greening, re-wilding and water management.

Types of projects which might be funded include community gardens; allotments; small urban or rural forests; rain gardens and green roofs; installation of furniture or features to promote the use of outdoor spaces as well as measures to improve walking and cycling. 

It is expected that up to 80 projects will be funded and the programme closes for applications on 17 December 2021.  NLCF is delivering this funding on behalf of the Department for Infrastructure.  Further information on the programme; on who is eligible and on how to apply is available on the National Lottery Community Fund’s website.  Note that applications cannot be submitted before 1 November 2021.

11 October 2021

Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme 2021

The Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme is funded under the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme.  The Scheme opened on 1 October 2021 and will remain open for applications until 22 October 2021.

Micro Capital Grants of between £200 and £1,500 are available to rural community-led, voluntary organisations for projects tackling issues of local poverty and/or social isolation.   The total project cost must not exceed £3,000.  Projects must clearly address an issue of rural poverty and/or social isolation and applicants must provide a minimum of 15% match funding.

Projects must focus on one of the following three themes:

  1. Modernisation (of premises and/or assets);
  2. Information Communication Technology;
  3. Health and Wellbeing.

In recognition of the impact of Covid-19, and the need for investment to re-open and safely operate venues, eligible costs may include structural alterations.  Goods which have a degree of permanence (anticipated to have a life beyond one year) or can be permanently affixed to the venue may also be considered eligible.

The scheme is being delivered by the Rural Support Networks on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.  Application forms, guidance notes and further advice and information is available from your local Rural Support Network.


4 October 2021

Community Consultation for Quality of Life

Developing better quality community consultation is the focus of a new research project by the Ulster University and three other universities (Edinburgh, Cardiff and Reading). 

Details of the project “Community Consultation for Quality of Life” and how to keep in touch as it progresses can be found here

30 September 2021