On 21 & 21 September, I joined the Leapfrog GSA team in the beautiful ski-​side holiday town of Aviemore, for the Strengthening Communities Conference Scotland 2017 (SCCS2017) organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Having secured a prominent ‘market-​place’ location, our team had the opportunity to share the newly produced ‘Make it happen toolbox’ with over two hundred people from trusts and foundations, government and voluntary organisations, SME’s and community development professionals, who work across Scotland and beyond.

All Leapfrog co-​designed tools intend to encourage ‘doing’ and are best used as a means for encouraging communication and interaction for better engagement activity. There are over 30 freely available for you to try out by downloading from the leapfrog website. The tools are self-​explanatory and flexible to use, and can be readily adapted to suit different needs. For the conference the team curated the paper-​based tools into a toolbox. Individual toolboxes were given a unique reference number, to help trace effectiveness and capture noteworthy stories that may emerge from their use.

The tools have all been co-​designed through working with communities of Mull and Iona, and the Kyles of Bute. Community members all wanted to address challenges of organising events in remote locations. They were particularly aiming to collaborate in new ways; making sure responsibilities were shared, and that they increased awareness, and widened participation. At SCCS2017 the toolboxes were well received, with 55 boxes being whisked away, and a ‘waiting list’ established for us to meet popular demand for more. Aside from Leapfrog toolboxes I thought the Scotland’s land futures  wooden giveaway was an amusing technology item.

In addition to learning about different communities across Scotland, I was pleasantly surprised by some Lancaster connections; meeting with Clair Malpas, Regeneration Manager of Cassiltoun Housing Association (Lancaster alumni) who is looking for ways to engage better with elderly housebound residents, and Val Emmett Association of Cairngorm Communities (former resident of Caton village) who was interested in the arts and activities to benefit remote areas in Scotland.

For Leapfrog the marketplace provided an informal way to meet, have interesting conversations, and was helpful in meeting new people to exchange ideas and networks. We hope to extend our research in forming new partnerships with some of these organisations. It would be interesting to see if tools from Leapfrog research could be disseminated further with the Co-​production Network both in Scotland and England seeing as they openly share tools. We’d of course be delighted to hear from any organisations wishing to work with us.

Please feel free to contact Debbie Stubbs, Design Project Manager, for further information.