The York Hill housing estate on the outskirts of Spennymoor has faced a number of issues preventing it from becoming the thriving community residents believe it can be. Plagued by various socio-economic problems, lack of ability to become digitally included has stopped this community from moving forward.
The regeneration of York Hill will see houses fully refurbished or converted, together with environmental improvements. Some properties will be sold. Changing the house sizes and types will attract new tenants to the area and reinvigorate the community. Further to this a further 73 privately owned properties will be improved for the future. All houses currently have flat roofs and will benefit from new pitched roofs, external wall insulation and boundary improvements.
More traditional methods of resident communication were used in the early stages of the project however engagement was low, sparking the need for creative social media-led marketing of the improved affordable homes and regenerated community.
A dedicated Facebook page has been created to keep residents of York Hill estate and the surrounding area up to date with what was going on throughout the regeneration works, whilst encouraging them to become “digital first” helping to overcome digital exclusion in the area.
The Facebook group now:
has 110 members who regularly engage with livin and other key stakeholders as well as each other
provides all those involved with current and up-to-date information, interesting news and gives people a forum to air views, frustrations and leave general comments, thus allowing the project team to build relationships and trust amongst residents
is the go-to place for the latest York Hill news
uses Innovative media such as a time lapse video to capture the regeneration of the estate, a series of short videos to tell the York Hill story as it unfolds, event capture which depicts physical changes interviews with residents and thermal technology has to record the energy performance during the build both pre and post works
Attendance at face-to-face meetings was very low, with around three residents taking the time to come along and engage with the project team and each other.
Communication and engagement now happen at a time that suits the residents of York Hill – at any time 24/7 and on any device. They can give up as little or as much time as they need to without the need to attend meetings. All ages and different types of residents are catered for – tenants, owner occupiers and leaseholders. Without social media, this level of collaboration would not have happened. The York Hill Facebook group is talked about on other local Facebook pages and has become the first point of contact for anything York Hill related.