Build your team
Building a small team of volunteers and partners will be the first important step to set you up for success. You don’t need to have everyone on board from the very beginning but try to build a small group of committed people who possess some of the skills and experience below and (most importantly) share your passion and enthusiasm for making your town or village the best that it can be!
Some of the jobs that will need to be filled include the following:
The Organising Team
- Communications, Design & Marketing - this is the person who’ll be responsible for everything communications related. The person who makes sure everyone knows what projects you’re planning and how they can get involved as well as telling your story to local media and managing your social media accounts.
- Financials & Governance - this is the person that will make sure everything is in order from a finance and legal perspective. This may not seem important at the very beginning but if your group grows and you begin fundraising to cover the costs of projects as well as working with a large group of volunteers, having this stuff in order will save you headaches further down the line.
- Project Planning & Leadership - this is the person who loves to plan and organise! It’s important to have a project manager who can help plan out the projects and assign volunteers, resources etc.
You may be good at one or all of these things but make sure that across the team you have everything covered. Roles don’t need to be too clearly defined from the outset but it’ll make your life easier as the project grows.
- These are the local businesses or organisations you’ll need on board to help make your projects a success.
- Paintshop - your local paint supplier or hardware store.
- Space to store your materials - maybe a local hardware store or garage that has some extra space.
- Media Partners - local radio, local newspaper, community groups on social media e.g. Tidy Towns and resident’s associations.
- Local artists
Select 2 projects
Once you have your team in place and you’ve started recruiting local partners, the next step is to select your first two projects to reimagine the neglected or dilapidated areas of your town. Maybe you’ve already identified areas that could do with a refresh or you’re not sure where to start?
Either way, getting your team together and spending some time walking around your town scoping out buildings, laneways, bridges and alleys will provide the inspiration you need to get started.
It’s best to start with ideas that aren’t too big or demanding and that you know you can make a success.
The selection process should be as democratic as possible so it might a good idea to arrange a workshop outlining some options and then letting your team vote. This way everyone will feel involved, engaged and ultimately proud of what you achieve together.
Approach local funders
This might sound like the scary part but once you get started and begin improving your town, you’ll realise that lots of people will want to join that journey with you! Local businesses are always looking for opportunities to contribute to the area and supporting a project of your Reimagine team is a pretty great opportunity! The costs are relatively low (approx. €1,000 - 2,000 per project) and the impact will be very clearly visible making the town more attractive for everyone.
There are seed funds available through changex.org to get started, depending on your location. In July 2018, there will be seed funds available to community groups across County Cork. If this is available in your location, it'll provide a great boost to allow you build a local funding base from and show other local funders the impact you can have locally.
Before you complete your first project, it’s a good idea to have a practice session so that when it comes to the real deal of painting those electricity boxes or that mural you and your team are pros!
Your Reimagine Nation mentor is someone who has been through this whole process before so they’ll come and visit for a day’s training. You’ll cover some of the basics like stencils, how to use masking tape and painting on different surfaces.
The training will also help you and your team to organise most efficiently to make sure that everything runs smoothly on your first project day.
Implementation and unveiling
Your first project day
It generally works well to assign a day to complete the project. Saturday or Sunday work well to get as many volunteers together as possible. You’ll always have to remain flexible as you’ll need dry weather conditions for any outdoor painting.
Once your first project is complete, you’ll be dying to unveil it to the local community! It can be nice to hold a small launch event on the evening of your project day, inviting along all of your key partners, local businesses, the local council etc. This allows you and your team to show off your hard work, bring to life your vision for Reimagine in your town and celebrate all that’s great about your town or village.
An event like this will be a great way to build more support and awareness of your work which will help in recruiting volunteers, funders and partners for your next project!