Case studies

These case studies help to illustrate what we can do. We believe every client’s requirements are unique – so why not contact us to see how we can help you?

NENW research summaries

What do you do when you want already overstretched policy makers to pay attention to tens of thousands of words of important research reports?

Natural Economy Northwest, a partnership organisation set up to maximise the economic benefit from the region’s natural environment, turned to us.

NENW was the lead organisation for Priority action 113 of the Regional Economic Strategy: to ‘develop the economic benefit of the region’s natural environment through better alignment of environmental activities and economic gain’.

As part of its work, it produced a number of detailed research reports. We took the reports and condensed each into a 1,000-word summary presented in full colour on an A4 sheet. The sheets are stored in a sturdy and attractive folder, giving busy decision makers easy access to vital information that might otherwise be overlooked. If necessary, they can then look up the full research report on the NENW website.

NENW described our approach as ‘positive and professional’. ‘You were efficient in turning around drafts within a couple of days, sticking to milestones and redrafting both content and design usually within 24-36 hours.’

We also produced a series of case studies for NENW as well as a booklet highlighting the achievements of the Cumbria Natural Benefits for Business pilot, which was set up to find ways of making biodiversity relevant and beneficial for commercial organisations.

MoD land disposals

The Bill Sargent Trust promotes public awareness of housing issues through action research and campaigning. The trust commissioned us to undertake a major piece of research as part of its efforts to increase awareness of the importance of maximising sustainable community benefit from the disposal of Ministry of Defence land.

We carried out an exhaustive review of all the literature published on the subject since 1999. Our search included conference papers, specialist magazines, academic articles, Hansard, local newspapers and government reports. A range of databases and catalogues relating to planning and property were searched, as well as newspaper archives and local authority websites.

The literature review was followed by a series of one-to-one interviews with key players from all sides of the debate. We also ran a focus group. The final report is continuing to influence debate on the future of MOD sites.

Renew Northwest

Working from material supplied by Renew, the former centre of excellence for sustainable communities in northwest England, we designed, wrote and produced a series of high-quality booklets on good practice in regeneration. Topics covered included creative industries, affordable housing, and gender and regeneration.

Julian Dobson also played a key role in Renew’s prestigious exemplar learning programme, a project that aimed to identify and showcase examples of good practice in sustainable communities throughout the Northwest.

As well as writing up each of the examples for the Renew website, Julian also wrote and produced a 16-page booklet evaluating the programme which was distributed across the region to key policymakers and practitioners.

Community renewable energy briefings

Renewable energy is one of today’s most important and complex areas of policy. Integreat Yorkshire, the regional centre of excellence for placemaking, wanted to enable communities to play their part in the move to a lower carbon economy but realised they would have to navigate a sea of government strategy and policy documents first. That’s where we came in.

Working with Future Energy Yorkshire, we researched all the relevant policies and gathered information on the growing and very diverse range of community-based renewable energy projects. We then wrote six concise and accessible briefing documents packed with advice, information and examples for anyone seeking a way into this important field.

Great Learning – Leeds-Bradford Corridor

Julian Dobson worked with Integreat Yorkshire to devise a major learning programme aimed at increasing co-operation between Leeds and Bradford councils. As part of the project, we wrote a report for each of the seven practice forums and then produced a 12-page, full colour report summarising key lessons learned. You can find out more on our UPskilling pages

Voluntary Voice

London Voluntary Service Council called on us to produce their magazine Voluntary Voice, which was distributed to community and voluntary organisations across the capital. We produced bi-monthly issues from 2005 to 2007.

North West Together We Can

It’s the personal angle that brings stories to life. We specialise in using case studies and interviews to help organisations communicate what they are all about. The North West Together We Can partnership, which worked to help local people shape their communities, enlisted us to produce their annual report. Striking photographs, lively interviews and an eye-catching design ensured that this was a document that people actually read.

Mersey Forest publicity

Staff working for The Mersey Forest were delighted with a piece of research that showed they were providing local people with excellent value for money. The problem was how to translate a 56-page report into something the public would be willing to read. Using our expertise in journalism, we produced two features of just 1,000 words each, one for the specialist press and one from a human interest angle designed to appeal to the local media. We also wrote a 500-word news story summarising the findings.

As a result of our work, The Mersey Forest received extensive media coverage, both nationally and locally, with items appearing on television, in print and online.

5Alive

From 2006 to 2010 we produced 5Alive, circulated across more than 23,000 homes in north Sheffield. We did this on behalf of the community-led partnership Southey and Owlerton Area Regeneration (SOAR). The bi-monthly, full colour magazine is SOAR’s main forum for communicating with local people. We were instrumental in setting it up and worked with the editorial board to ensure the magazine reflected local issues and concerns.

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