This month Leapfrog ran its first co-​design workshop as part of its short project “Engaging Young Families” at the Grantown-​on-​Spay near Aviemore. In this project we are working closely with the Cairngorms National Park Authority for the next couple of months co-​designing engagement tools. CNPA is currently dealing with 10 to 12 major issues in the park that will be addressed in their planning, such as housing, deer management etc. One of the main concerns for CNPA is engaging with young families with their limited staff resources. 

Within the context of the national park ‘young’ refers to adults between 30 & 40 years of age.  The park authority believe that they are missing out on a valuable source of creativity and ideas for how best to make the park an appealing place to live for current and future generations of families. CNPA’s main challenge is engaging with young families to gain better insights of the issues that are important to them and also finding creative ways to involve them in contributing good ideas about the park’s future. 

In order to address this key issue, with CNPA’s help, we recruited participants from various organisations who work within and around Cairngorms National Park. To name a few organisation who came along for the workshop: Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust, Marr Area Partnership,  Perth & Kinross Council, Marr Area Partnership and Voluntary Action in Badenoch & Strathspey. 

First half of the session, we discussed key issues these organisations face in engaging with the young families in the Park. Participants elaborated on some of the practical challenges they face, such as:

  • Lack of time to engage with young families 
  • Access to rural communities and dispersed community. 
  • To make sure everyone’s voice in the community is heard
  • There is also a growing concern about segregating new comers in a close nit community. 
  • Building Trust,  understanding and accepting other people’s reality (How do we make people see things differently? ) 
  • Getting in depth information from the community. Quality over quantity. 
  • Overcoming engagement fatigue

Some interesting ideas and concepts were discussed during the second half of the session. 

1. Carbon Paper — this tool can interest people to consultation. Two copies of engagement is made in once and the participant and the organiser gets to take home their views. 

2. Seeing Things - this tool will be a card game to change people’s perspectives. A tool that will enable them to see the issues from other people’s perspectives. 

3. Colouring Sheets — this tool will  engage with both adult and the children. The children could be engaged with the colouring sheet and content in the sheet could triggering conversations with the parents regarding the wider issues in the park. 

4. Sketch Pads: Engagement tool for kids and adults to envision the landscapes and engage in consultation in for in depth way. 

We are in the midst of developing these great ideas into prototypes. A follow up workshop has been organised to demonstrate the engagement tools with the same group of participants to get feedbacks and further refine the ideas before we publish out final tools. Watch this space for updates.