COMMUNITY IN EVENTS

We Are Placemaking are experts in Creative Placemaking, working alongside public & private sector organisations within the property, retail and public realm, animating spaces through live experiences. The events we produce are to drive footfall, support surrounding F&B and involve the local community to create a destination they are proud of. Tailoring events to cater for community involvement has always been at the forefront for We are Placemaking, and is becoming increasingly more important for event producers across the country. We believe it is important to start conversations with developers from Phase Zero so that we can include the community from the beginning of the project. We’ve been involved in developments that have caused ‘disruption’ to local communities for years and a negative atmosphere has developed. When launching a new public realm, we aim to change perceptions from day one and encourage the audience to see their surroundings in a different light.

The direct and indirect impact that events have on communities are important in a number of different ways. They create a strong coming together for people from all walks of life, they provide opportunities for participation, volunteering and encourage involvement for all ages. Community involvement in events also provides social, cultural, economic and environmental development throughout to the surrounding areas, so is beneficial in many ways and important to ensure that community is the focal point of events.

Community events contribute to keeping the spirit high for local residents within the community and have an impact on repeat visits on annual events. If an event provides activities that cater to a whole family and their friends, there is automatically going to be an increase in footfall numbers.

Community activities are an important feature for bringing a connection into communities and for bringing people together, and for helping to create a support network and for building bonds and relationships.

WALTHAM FOREST

Since a chance meeting in 2017, We Are Placemaking have continued to work with the London Borough of Waltham Forest’s regeneration team to curate events in the borough. One of the most forward thinking and proactive local authorities. It is no wonder LBWF was the first to win the Mayor of London’s Borough of Culture award. The ongoing work of the regeneration team and their commitment to creative use of local assents for meanwhile use, the focus on community lead culture are all at the heart of the redevelopment programs. Culture-led regeneration is a priority in the London Borough of Waltham Forest and their approach leads the way for other local authorities when it comes to embedding culture, creatively, from phase zero of the planning and decision making process.

The council’s approach to regeneration in the borough, it to create places that people want to live in and work in. A goal that sits very much in line with our own mission statement. Having just become the first London Borough of Culture they are heavily focused on community in their events, creatively involving culture and helping them thrive as a Borough.

The flagship piece of Waltham Forest Council’s vision is the town hall, with an ambitious plan to redevelop it into a community hub. The council approached We Are Placemaking with their vision of redevelopment, and a brief to curate a community lead Christmas event.  We approached this project with an eye to achieving the expressed aims of driving footfall to the town hall, but also creating an event that would have legacy. The site was designed to be visually inviting, and drive guests around as much of the site as possible. Attendees were also able to take tours of the historic building. These activities both increased familiarity with the site and normalised it for people, welcoming people to w wandering around the site.

Local business and crafts people were invited to participate in a Makers Fair, where they could display and sell their wares, an event we hope will become a regular of the Town Hall’s event calendar. And local pop stars East 17 performed to a jubilant crowd. The members of the community left with a better understanding and appreciation of the Town Hall site and what it has to offer. We hope to build on the success of the event in 2018, and continue to attract residents and business to the site with a clear strategy and a well curated events calendar.

Before the event Clare Coghill, the Leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: “We can’t wait to welcome East 17 back to their home turf – it’s so fitting that one of East London’s most famous bands will be performing at one of East London’s most iconic buildings, historic Waltham Forest Town Hall.

“We are also very proud to be able to support our talented makers and creators from across the borough. I’ll be switching the festive lights during the evening and I’m already so excited! We can’t wait to see you on Friday as Christmas in Waltham Forest really gets started.”

ST JAMES’ STREET

St James Street Townscape had a regeneration scheme in place over the last year, with the completion date falling on a Sunny day in August 2017. The plan for the scheme was to regenerate this part of Walthamstow town centre and to make it a destination in its own right.

Before the regeneration scheme the area featured buildings of significant heritage value, such as an Art Deco style building dating from 1929. The landmark buildings were dilapidated and the local economy was struggling. Thanks to the regeneration programme the area had an improved public realm, support on a wide range of community businesses, provided support for residents, and schools and opened opportunities for locals to engage with the area’s heritage.

To celebrate the finishing of this scheme Waltham Forest Council wanted a weekend of events in place for the local residents. We stepped in and worked with the council to produce this, focusing on involving local businesses and suppliers to produce the event. Hosting a community street party taking over Mission Grove car park, we had food and beverage stalls from local traders and live music from Hackney Pantonic Steel drumming Orchestra, an interactive workshops with Mbilla arts and a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony attended by stakeholders, local residents, local primary school pupils and Councilors.

HISTORY OF SOUTHAMPTON

Our event program in Southampton started back in December 2016 with the launch of Westquay South. Westquay South is an extension of the shopping centre in Southampton which includes a new Showcase cinema-de-lux alongside a Hollywood Bowl and restaurants including Franco Manca, Bills and L’Osteria. Working with a site that was not quit finished involved many challenges, however we launched the scheme with a digital mapping 7 minute long projection onto the old city walls. This was all about the local community and highlighted the history that Southampton has to offer. We discovered that majority of the Southampton community didn’t know the history of their own town, therefore the feedback and comments from the local public was overwhelming as it educated many but also brought back a lot of memories and developed a lot of emotions when remembering the stories form the Titanic setting sail from Southampton on 10th April 1912

THE LEXICON

When approaching a new project and creating a ‘destination’, for us engaging with the community is an absolute fundamental. The spaces that we work with ultimately revolve around that community and are therefore at the forefront of our design and scheduling process.

When we launched The Lexicon, in Bracknell, it was a key part of our brief to ensure that it was the launch of the town centre, so it was really important that the community was heavily involved in opening their town centre and that local talent were included. We took a great deal of time to explore and understand the Bracknell community as we do with all our projects to ensure that we create successful and relevant events.

The Lexicon Launch schedule was packed full of amazing local talent including performances for institutions such as Berkshire Maestros, South Hill Park, BWCB, Vocalese and Garth Hill College. The Lexicon itself was also opened by prize winning children from the local schools. The success of this involvement has continued through events we have continued to produce for The Lexicon into live music at the weekends and particularly into Christmas, when we had choirs and performances throughout the light switch on and Christmas Period with fantastic feedback from the Bracknell community.