We have been appointed by the University of Gloucestershire to deliver the Big Conversation - a six-month programme of engagement activities to involve local people and organisations in developing the county’s vision for 2050.
Gloucestershire is facing some serious demographic challenges over the next 30 years. 400 people in the 18-30 age bracket are leaving the county every year to live, work or study elsewhere whilst the number of people aged over 65 is set to increase by 67% by the year 2039.
Our role is to communicate and explain these drivers for change and enable the broadest possible range of stakeholders in Gloucestershire to comment on the initial vision proposals and put forward their own suggestions.
To kickstart the conversation, we attracted over 600 people from all over the county (including school children, university students and professionals) to Cheltenham Racecourse on 1 February 2018. We put together a programme of presentations and panel sessions with local leaders focussing on the case for change, ambitions for the future and six big ideas that could radically transform the county’s reputation on the national and international stage.
The event also included exhibition stands from over 30 local businesses, charities and public services to demonstrate the value they bring to the county and their innovative plans for the future.
Action Days and Event Pack
Over the summer, we will be running six Action Days across the county to ensure the Big Conversation reaches a diverse audience. Our Glos 2050 stand will be popping up at a range of major county events including the Gloucestershire Business Show, Tewkesbury Food Festival and the Cotswold Show to offer fun and engaging ways for people to share their feedback and ideas.
We’re also supporting a range of organisations in Gloucestershire to host their own Glos 2050 events focussing on specific themes such as sustainability, business and the voluntary section. We have produced a comprehensive event pack that includes all the materials required.
One of the key objectives for the Big Conversation is ensuring that young people play a prominent role in shaping the conversation and that their needs and ideas are reflected in the final vision. We invited 16-25 year olds across the county to apply for a place on the Big Conversation Advisory Group which will meet regularly over the course of the project to shape our communications and engagement activity with that age group.
As well as our face to face engagement work, we are supporting the conversation online with a bespoke consultation website and communications across a range of social media channels. This included developing a 3 minute animation to explain the vision and working with the University’s in-house video production unit to create a series of vox pop videos that bring the vision to life.
We also produce weekly analytics reports for the client so they can see how our content is delivering reach and impact. We use this data to target specific audiences through social media advertising to ensure that our messages are getting through to the people who really matter.
Analysis and reporting
One of the most innovative aspects of the project is our unique website functionality that allows the public to see our qualitative analysis in real time. Every consultation response submitted through the website is broken down and categorised into key themes following our coding framework. These codes are visible on the website allowing users to explore the emerging themes more easily and shape their own thinking about the future of the county.
The Big Conversation formally concludes at the end of July. At this point, we will bring together all the feedback collected through the website and the face to face engagement to prepare a summary report highlighting the issues that matter most to local people and recommendations for the next steps.
Find out more
To find out more about the Big Conversation and see the coding framework in action please visit