Redpath Creative
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Black Horse Removals - London, Tokyo, Shanghai, Glastonbury (but mainly Glastonbury)

Lloyds Bank.png

We didn’t manage to save a High Street Bank in Glastonbury but we put up a very strong community campaign to fight each closure and thanks to the exposure we received via mainstream media we now have a new Nationwide Bank in Glastonbury. We learnt several things from running our Last Bank Standing campaign that might be useful to other communities who need to raise awareness of their project / business initiative / community campaign. These can be broken down into five components:

1/ Engage with all Political representatives. We started our campaign knocking on the door of the Town Council’s chamber and asking whether they would support it. We spoke to our District Councillors, our County Councillors and our MP. Our MP raised the issue at PMQs and this lead onto a very thoughtful debate in the House of Commons about the loss of banking provision and its impact on communities across the UK. Later that year the House of Commons established a Commons Select Committee to report on Banking provision and we were asked to contribute to it.

2/ Use Flash-mobs and Street Theatre to gain the attention of the mainstream media. We live in a visual age and the media channels (Social / Terrestrial / Online) are always hungry for great footage. So we gave them (a) a pop up choir singing our version of Jerusalem (b) a Spaghetti Western (c) Bellydancers (d) a Victorian Funeral procession up the High Street with the legs of the late Black Horse (representing the closure of Lloyds Bank in Glastonbury) sticking out of a coffin carried on the town’s bier. It reached the point where the ITV reporter rang us up and said ‘We love what you are doing in Glastonbury. Let us know when your next event is and we’ll send up a satellite truck’. And true to his word he covered all our campaign events. Thank you David Woodland of ITV West!

3/ Harness the creative talent within your community. There is the most amazing collection of talents in every community. Sometimes you just need an event or a cause to inspire them. We discovered: Carpenters / Dressmakers/ Photographers/ Editors/ Sound Recordists / Printers/ Prop Specialists / Floral Artists / Farmers / Cowboys / Druids / Singers / Drummers and Bellydancers. Everyone gave their time to help raise the profile of our campaign. Community engagement should not be underestimated. This was our story and we were determined to get it out into the world. And to do that we needed a lot of help. For example we wanted a queue of around 30 to stand outside the bank on a wet, cold February morning. 300 people turned up - many dressed in Spaghetti western attire.

4/ Use existing networks of local communication. We used local facebook groups and our community’s email list (about 4,000 residents) to let people know when the next campaign flash mob was taking place. These need to be done at very short notice to retain an element of surprise and yet they need to be very carefully planned in advance to make sure everything is in place (and the mainstream media alerted). You only get one take!

5/ Have fun! Keep it playful and creative. Not only do the media like it but everyone enjoys participating.

Kevin Redpath