Leapfrog ran the first co-​design  workshop at Lancaster Central Library for the group of Lancashire County Council professionals working on the Neighbourhood Centres project. The aim of the workshop was to share an analysis of the work from the previous scoping workshop and discuss it and introduce the idea of designing tools.  The aim was to also encourage the group to select key challenges and in teams start to create an action plan of how to co-​design tools to share with others as they face those challenges when setting up the Neighbourhood Centres.

To start the workshop, the group talked in pairs about the skills they have and the skills they would like to have in the future. They filled in a new Leapfrog tool for drawing out skills and shared these with the wider group. They were then asked to form four teams based on everyone’s skills.

Leon talked about the aim of the overall project, which is to design a variety of tools that can be used and adapted by different groups in the new neighbourhood centres across the county. He explained what we meant by a tool and gave examples of where we have designed tools for other groups on Leapfrog, such as the Young People’s Project.

The Leapfrog team had combed through all of the information generated in the first scoping workshop and put together an analysis document for the group, which can be downloaded from the right. There were a number of key themes that emerged from the scoping workshop, which were:

  • Staff (and Volunteers) Working Together
  • The Public and Use
  • Multi-​User/​Multi-​Service
  • Buildings and Infrastructure
  • Misuse
  • Model of Best Practise
  • Management, Closures and Cuts 

The themes were discussed within the group with an opportunity to change or add more. The group thought that marketing and communication to staff and the community was also important, as well as culture, timelines and managing the centre. Marketing and communication as a key theme was taken forward into the next activity, where four groups worked around a different challenge each using the Hexagon Card tool to physically connect together sub-​challenges, great ideas and one key thing to think about. These were presented back to the whole group and everyone was asked to form groups around the challenge they thought was particularly interesting to them.

In the next and final stage of the workshop, the newly formed groups created action plans for how they would start to work on developing tools. They first did this on large work sheets that gave prompts for what to consider including a title for the challenge, who they could speak to for more information on the challenge and what they could find inspirational. The groups then transferred this to a Word document on laptops and typed a short paragraph explaining the co-​design challenge to anyone who was not there, that may join the group at a later date.

The Co-​design Challenges and the Short Descriptions

Neighbourhood Centre Model – A Consistent Approach
Finding a way to deliver a consistent level of service in neighbourhood centres across the county despite each centre being tailored to each community’s specific needs. Taking advantage of greater collaboration between services to become more integrated, one community hub, sharing expertise and facilities to become a more flexible resource.

Understanding Building Use and Resources
Creating an adaptable method, which enables decisions to be made as to how services are to live together and to enable heads of services to know what is required to facilitate this. A toolkit with different topics will be created to share the day-​to-​day decision-​making with regards to the use of the building ie. Storage space, kitchen protocol. Creative ways of problem solving.

How to Engage the Whole Community
This is to provide a TWO-​WAY communication toolkit to engage with the local communities. First to understand the demographic breakdown of the communities and identify the different groups within it. Explore a variety of communication channels and use the most appropriate to reach each section. Inform them what the new NHC has to offer and how they can access it. Set up processes to get community feedback and involvement to engage with the service

Marketing and Communication (Internal & External)
Create a common identity for all Neighbourhood Centres and to identify different ways of communicating with a cross-​section of service users and staff.  To give staff and volunteers a sense of ownership of the building, being part of the change/​transformation. Providing a communication toolkit that can be flexible and useful to various centres and demographics. Provide an opportunity for the community to get to know their Neighbourhood Centre. INNOVATIVE- Ways of communicating, use of space, ways of collaborating with other teams.


The teams are working on their challenges together between now and the next workshop on the 24th of August, when they will share the progress they have made and develop tools.