How GK Went Digital During Lockdown
In March, Covid-19 caused the world as we knew it to change… and the way we work changed too. Like many other organisations, Greener Kirkcaldy had to adapt the way we worked and find new ways to engage with our community. This blog describes our journey over the last few months.
When lockdown restrictions came into force, we still had ten events to run in March, nine events planned in April and six events planned for May which we were forced to postpone. We closed our building at East Fergus Place to the public, and most of our staff started working from home. As many know, this brought its own challenges, from finding the right IT equipment and workspaces to household interruptions, we all had to adapt to a new working day.
Once the dust settled, we quickly realised the restrictions would be in place for a lot longer than anyone anticipated. Straight away, we started work to support those who might be struggling in the crisis. Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government’s Supporting Communities Fund, our Community Food and Cosy Kingdom teams were able to step up and help people needing support accessing food or at risk of disconnection.
We also started to plan how we could deliver our other activities in a different way. Our staff quickly learned got to grips with new technology and we started a new programme of online events and activities just a week after lockdown started.
Our Community Chef Iain led the way, with a series of cooking videos and from his kitchen:
Our Active Travel Development Worker, Susan (along with her daughter Sophie), and our cycling volunteers also started making cycling skills and route videos:
- How to brake
- How to practice steering
- How to use your gears
- How to teach observation skills
- Retail Park to Victoria Hospital
Plus our sewing tutor Gabbi made a video on how to make your own face mask from materials you might have around the house.
At the end of April, we launched our brand new YouTube channel to host all our new videos. Subscribe to see them when they go live.
Our Cosy Kingdom energy advisors also post weekly videos giving out tips and advice on all things energy-related on their own YouTube channel.
Lastly, using the power of technology and video editing we put together a song compilation to try and put a smile on people’s faces and tell the story of how some members of our staff have coped during lockdown.
Throughout lockdown, our Cosy Kingdom team held weekly Facebook Live sessions, giving people a chance to question the energy advisors on a range of topics.
Our Community Chef also ran a series of Q&A’s – Making the most of what you’ve got Q&A and our transport team ran an online Bike Maintenance webinar with top tips on how to keep your bike well maintained.
We adapted our monthly Climate Café to an online event where people watch a film together online from the comfort of their own home, then joined a Zoom discussion to chat about the film afterwards. We have run 6 of these events since April, attracting now people we’ve never engaged with before. We also ran weekly Friday afternoon Facebook watch party film screenings between May and August.
In July, we ran two ‘Climate Kids’ online family events over Zoom – these were interactive, with activities families could do at home to learn about food waste and butterflies, and the impacts of climate change.
Our Kirkcaldy Walking Festival also went online this year. Groups and organisations sent us their favourite walks around Kirkcaldy, which we combined into a programme people could download from our website and walk themselves. We also ran two online events – a film showing and a virtual meetup, and ran two social media competitions. Read more. Similarly, our Kirkcaldy Cycling Festival was a blended event this year, with a mix of face-to-face cycle rides, Dr Bike and online events.
As part of our planning for our ‘next normal’, we also held a virtual ‘town meeting’ – Kirkcaldy After Lockdown – bringing our community together to talk about how they would like to see Kirkcaldy come back better post lockdown, and how Greener Kirkcaldy can get involved.
It’s been hard work changing how we do things, learning new technology, and doing things remotely, but we’ve managed to get things back up and running in a different way very quickly. We are proud of how our staff and volunteers have overcome the challenges of working from home, supported our community and reimagined how we work by delivering great events and activities online.
We’ve found that, although some people are keen to return to face-to-face events and activities, and we’ve been able to open our building to the public again for some of our services, online events have helped us engage with new audiences and we appreciate that some people will prefer, and find it easier to attend online events going forward. We, therefore, hope to hold more face-to-face events soon, but our new programme of online events and videos is here to stay too.|