Working with the Community
When we built our business model for Lambeth Communications, we wanted to reflect Lambeth Council’s values in it.
Lambeth Council was Britain’s first cooperative council – a policy idea which led to The Guardian describing us as ‘The John Lewis Council’.
In short, becoming a cooperative council meant Lambeth wanted to have a more equal relationship with citizens around service planning, commissioning and delivery, instead of a traditional adult-child relationship model where we provide services and citizens use them.
This was an ambitious aim, but Lambeth is an amazing place full of energy, talent, entrepreneurialism, ambition and drive. Our residents love their borough and the communities they live in, and there are hundreds of examples of projects, enterprises and schemes that illustrate this. For many reasons, Lambeth was already a cooperative borough and its people were already providing services far and above what the council could, so it was the perfect place for such a policy to thrive.
We felt that Lambeth Communications should do something practical to support this.
We know that for many of these community ventures, communications and marketing is off limits. It’s either regarded as expensive, time consuming or both. But we know that structured, strategic communications delivered using relevant tactics can support, enhance, and improve on their objectives.
So, we decided to offer a free one-year package of communications support, including media, digital, design, event management and campaign expertise and invited communication organisations in Lambeth to apply for it.
As the dad of two young children, I’m used to losing sleep, but choosing which two organisations would receive our package gave me several more sleepless nights. The quality and social value of entries we got illustrated to us the depth of talent, passion, energy and community spirit that exists in Lambeth. This made the panel’s decision extremely difficult and it would be fair to say we agonised over it.
All candidates would have been deserving recipients, however I would like to congratulate Streetscape and Streatham Power, who were chosen as winners of our pro bono offer. You’ll read more about the journeys we go on with these two organisations in our blog over the coming year.