Pauline Sargent contacted Talk About Local in early 2010 when she was looking to create a community website for her home town of Drimnagh, a residential area on the outskirts of Dublin. Talk About Local gave Pauline remote training and ongoing support as she was getting started with Drimnagh is Good – a site based on the Digbeth is Good model used by Nicky.
Over the past year and a half Drimnagh is Good has become a strong voice ‘to help Drimnagh shout about the good things more often’. It talks positively about local people, initiatives and events and helps connect local politics with the neighbourhood.
Following the lead of Pits n Pots, Drimnagh is Good gave all 12 candidates running for a seat in the last Dublin South Central election 500 words to talk about about their campaigns, policies and reasons for standing. Eight of them responded, giving local people good, in-depth introductions to candidates before polling day.
Drimnagh is Good has more recently been busy raising awareness and publishing coverage of the Drimnagh Festival in late September. Pauline also works hard to share her new skills by leading local social media surgeries and strengthens the Irish hyperlocal network on twitter as @hyperlocalie.
Pesky People's 'website makeover' day with Talk About Local in 2009
When Disabled and Deaf Arts consultant Alison Smith found herself at Hello Digital in October 2009 without the British Sign Language interpreter she was told would be booked by organisers, her protests would have remained unheard were it not for delegates using Twitter. Talk About Local along with many others helped her get her voice heard by the event’s organisers, retweeting her requests for information that was picked up from Barcelona to New York.
Soon afterwards, we found ourselves working with Alison as she was getting started with developing peskypeople.co.uk, which raises awareness of digital access and inclusion issues for Disabled and Deaf people, when she won a makeover for the website at the Talk About Local Unconference. We spent the day working with her on rebuilding the site in line with its aims, discussing how to drive her various campaigns forward and ways of integrating other tools such as Twitter with the website.
Alison has since built upon Pesky People to create a fast-growing business that successfully campaigns on behalf of others – working with disabled people, industries and organisations to improve digital access and inclusion. Pesky People has been awarded funding from Unltd*4ip and Media Trust/Community Voices. In 2010 she received Arts Council England funding for the Go Genie digital accessible platform for Disabled people, was a Finalist in the SMK Foundation (Consumer Action) 2010 Awards and and winner of the Grasnet prize at Interactivsm with Enabled by Design and NOKIA’s ‘Pitch n Win’ £25,000 investment prize.
Throughout this growth Talk About Local has continued to give Alison support with advice on lobbying, campaigning and developing project ideas.
The website campaigned for better maintenance of what residents felt was ‘the forgotten block’ and for some long-overdue landscaping work to the communal gardens. Images on the website gave a stark contrast, with artists’ impressions of what the communal gardens should look like and photos of the sorry, overgrown state the gardens were then in. Shortly after very publicly pushing Bristol City Council to take care of their communal gardens, work to restore them began:
Bristol City Council, may not have got it right at the beginning, but they have worked with us, and things are going really well.
Created with only basic web skills, this simple website was free to set up and easy to use and served its purpose well to support a single issue campaign, giving a public voice to an ignored problem.
Talk About Local trained a young woman Daisy Cooper, who was a future jobs fund trainee with Peabody Trust, to create http://barnsburyliving.wordpress.com – ‘an online community centre for the Barnsbury area’. Based in the Priory Green Estate the website serves to connect local residents with updates of local news, events, social clubs and events, communal spaces and job vacancies. There are dozens of notices on the site for local people. Daisy went on to train people on other estates and help them find a voice online.
Daisy has now moved on and talk about local has worked with Peabody to train other local people to contribute to the website and find their own voices online, resulting in a new website for the Green Man Community Centre in East Finchley.