Freshfield and the Winckley Square Futures Project

News from Freshfield
Simon Turner Freshfield Managing Director

Published by Simon Turner,
Chief Executive & Group Client Director at Freshfield

When Freshfield helped establish a community interest company in 2011 to regenerate a decaying Georgian square, it faced a huge task; build a brand, build a fan base with the community, influence key decision makers and help secure funding… with no budget.

Freshfield took on the task of helping regenerate Preston’s Winckley Square on a pro-bono basis alongside a collection of legal, accountancy, property and architect clients, forming Winckley Square Community Interest Company (WSCIC).

And in January 2014, WSCIC reached a major milestone by securing a first round pass on circa £1million worth of Heritage Lottery Funding towards the Winckley Square Futures Project.

In tackling the brief in 2011, Freshfield set out a long-term GamePlan. Our goals could not be achieved overnight.

The work we have done has spanned the full breadth of our expertise.

Our brand positioning team created a credible brand and vision, our PR consultants established a stakeholder engagement process that sought opinion and gained support from local authorities, residents, business community, religious community, historical society and potential investors.

Our media and content specialists have run a communications programme working with journalists, bloggers and social media, creating regular content for the WSCIC website and enewsletters.

Like any successful marketing project, from the start Freshfield aimed to get to the heart of the needs and requirements of the end-user (the community) and through a series of public consultations it has become clear that the community wanted a sympathetic restoration of Winckley Square.

Likewise, relevant local authorities were keen to see investment into the area but have been naturally constrained due to funding issues.

In 2013, WSCIC appointed environmental charity, Groundwork, to lead the development of an application to Heritage Lottery Fund.

Having successfully secured a stage one pass, Groundwork and WSCIC are now in the process of putting together a detailed and comprehensive proposal for the £1million restoration of Winckley Square, due to be submitted in August 2014.

There will be further rounds of consultation, further debates and more hard work but the progress of the project since 2011 highlights the importance and power of branding, strategy, and integrated communications. It also highlights the need to keep relationships at the heart of PR.

To find out more about WSCIC, visit here.

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