Better Things

Launching a new website for HNCC: a proactive response to public sector funding cuts

The problem

As documented in ourĀ case study on the brand identity we created for Highgate Newtown Community Centre (HNCC), the challenge for HNCC was to try to replace the hole in their funding left by local government cuts. They realised that their only hope of doing this was to build awareness of their offering amongst the local community, to deepen engagement with the community and then to turn that engagement and good will into volunteers for the centre. In this way HNCC would be able to continue to offer the outstanding support and services that have made them such a successful centre in the past.

Step one was to create a compelling brand identity. Step two was to build on that identity and create a website that would communicate not only the values and mission of the centre, but also act as a showcase for the services and support available through the centre.

The solution

Based on theĀ brand workshop we ran with stakeholders from HNCC, we developed a brand platform and a brand story – twin pillars to underpin everything HNCC do, from the way they market themselves, to the way they go about their day to day business. These pillars emphasised empowerment – empowering all members of the community, whether that be empowering older people to overcome a sense of isolation, single mums to rediscover their place in the community, or young people to follow their dreams and excel in the creative arts and sport. At the same time it was important to focus on innovation – the innovation HNCC showed in facing up to the cuts in funding, the space and atmosphere for innovation within the centre itself, and the innovation to attract the dynamic creators to the centre to voluntarily contribute to new courses and activities.

To do this we needed to create a website which would give the local community a voice. As well as featuring a suggestions box on every page – facilitating the collection of ideas from the whole community – we introduced an ‘Individuals’ news section so that HNCC can report on inspiring individuals within the community, telling stories of achievements and giving users a voice on the website. We opened all of the news stories up to comments – to encourage and enable conversation. We also introduced a people section to the website that didn’t just focus on the centre staff, but profiled volunteers, trustees and members as well – all of the people who make the centre special.

As befits a centre crying out for voluntary help, we made the site a catalyst for community – prominently featuring a ‘get involved’ section of the site, and using call to action links throughout the site to push users there. And of course, to really showcase just what the centre can offer, we included ‘what’s going on?’ and ‘calendar’ sections.

Visually, the vibrancy and diversity of the local community is communicated strongly through the brand identity we developed and the image style and use.

You can visit the HNCC website here.

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