In this age of Facebook and Whatsapp, Tiktok and Twitter, email and instant messaging, it’s easy to get carried away with the idea of digital communication. In our first Village Builders course we’ve been talking about build connection, one of the six key elements of the Village In The City Manifesto. Along with all the digital ideas, the community notice board has come to the fore as a very useful tool for the community builder.
Why? It’s very inclusive, visible to all who walk past. It’s socially distanced – nobody needs to touch anything. It’s controllable – usually someone chooses and curates which notices are displayed. It can (with a little effort) be made to look attractive and inviting. A good notice board needs a little care and attention, but can give an excellent return on getting the word out – to locals and visitors alike.
We found this in Edinburgh – the council has three notice boards which went unattended through the first lockdown and largely featured fading notices about ‘rules of the park’ and what people should not do. Here in the West End we (or at least my colleague Paul) managed to get keys from the city council to access the boards and restocked them with useful information about local contacts (councillors, MPs etc), local ‘hidden treasures’ like shopping streets and galleries, a link to a downloadable ‘Meet The Westenders’ tour of historical local characters which was devised some years ago and for which the pavement markers still exist. We also post Community Council meetings and notes, local news from the free sheet and things like COVID vaccination and testing availability. And there is STILL room for the council’s information on trees and birds to be seen in the area. And of course our local neighbourhood Facebook group too.
You don’t need a posh stand-alone notice board to start making an impact. Often shops will help display posters, and it’s good to look for local ‘bumping places’ where people congregate anyway. A notice board isn’t much use tucked out of the way where nobody looks at it!
Now read this useful and comprehensive blog about notice boards (from a company which makes and supplies them). And think where you might get the word out in steam-powered and drawing pinned form.