United Utilities needed support with its consultation for its Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme (HARP).
Following the COVID-19 crisis, it needed to find an innovative way to continue engaging with residents and stakeholders on its plans in a way that respected social distancing guidelines.
How we assisted – Creating the Virtual Exhibition
Working with United Utilities, BECG developed an online ‘Virtual Exhibition’ platform that people across Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester could visit, access information and leave feedback.
The exhibition replicated the experience of a traditional consultation event, with exhibition boards, maps and the ability to discuss the proposals with project team members in live chats all available to visitors.
Using an interactive map, powered by Google’s mapping software, allowed residents, community leaders and other stakeholders to view how the works could impact their local areas, giving them indicative images of proposed work compounds within their local contexts.
BECG also provided hardcopy consultation packs for those residents unable to access digital campaigns, as well as providing a Freepost address and Freephone information number for people to contact the project team.
The exhibition was advertised through a mixture of traditional and digital channels – utilising targeted social media posts to direct regional audiences to “Have their say” on United Utilities’ plans. On top of this, newsletters advertising the consultation were sent to over 20,000 properties around each proposed working compound.
The consultation is still underway, however within the first three days, around 2,000 unique visits were made to the site.
Visitors have been given the opportunity to provide feedback per section, meaning that comments and questions are more relevant to particular geographical areas, rather than the project as a whole.
The exhibition has gathered positive media coverage across regional publications and given local stakeholders the opportunity to signpost residents and interested third parties to the site through social media and email, further increasing visits and engagement.