The U rolled out a short, hyper-local project in Loughborough Junction from June to August, 2012. Over three months and 15 sessions we reached over 100 local residents as Guests, Hosts, and supporters. 90% of Guests reported that they really enjoyed their session and would like to attend another, and over 95% said they were more confident to use the skills they learned in their daily life.
The U Loughborough Junction was our first project in an urban area, and was a pivotal point in The U’s development. It presented some exciting new questions which opened the door for creative experimentation.
How do you make The U hyper-local?
With such a short delivery time, we needed to hit the ground running with a lot of local knowledge to guide us. We introduced two new outreach and coordination posts – two local young residents who were responsible for rolling The U out in their neighbourhoods. Their knowledge and connections were invaluable to the success of the project.
For this project we took advantage of the beautiful summer weather and took The U on the road! We delivered sessions in community centres, cafes, pubs, and even the park (when the rain let up). While some of these spaces came with unexpected surprises (lost dogs and an entire wedding party descending on the venue, to name a few!), we learned that The U can truly go anywhere. And delivering in these social places provided the added opportunity for Guests to stick around after the session and build on their new connections.
Is neighborliness important in urban areas?
Loughborough Junction is a diverse community bustling with activity. While this is a large part of the area’s appeal, shifting populations and busy schedules can make it difficult to connect with our neighbours. While many of the experiences Guests shared during sessions were unique compared to those in other communities, the benefits of the session were the same. There is a wealth of valuable knowledge and experience in all communities, and a little more positive interaction goes a long way.
“Coming to these sessions you meet new friends, and you gain more confidence. You’re always smiling!” – Janet, Guest
“I never would have had the chance to meet any of the people in my session. We don’t really go to the same places. But we all had a great time together.” – Tariq, Guest
“My confidence has certainly increased as a Host. This isn’t something I ever expected to do, but I’m glad I did!” Jo, Host
You can see a record of the action on the LJU blog.