The Cabinet Office
NEST is a new concept that connects communities, local authorities and social organisations. NEST would be a national brand which would take the form of a platform and physical social space in each community area. It would make visible the support provided in a community, in a way that would enable residents to see the real impact of support and also celebrate any contribution that they make.
The current landscape for funding social organisations is changing. As a result of austerity policies, social organisations, especially smaller ones, are finding it increasingly difficult to get funding. The Cabinet Office asked the Royal College of Art Service Design students to help it think about how individuals could be encouraged to invest in social organisations for a return on their investment
I was interested to find out how we could increase funding and support for social organisations fulfilling a social need, I interviewed potential community investors, people using support services, social organisations, local authorities, voluntary associations and experts in the field. I also looked at research evidence.
My solution is NEST, a new creation that connects communities, local authorities and social organisations. NEST is a national brand which takes the form of a platform and physical social space in each community area. It makes visible the support provided in a community, in a way that enables residents to see the real impact of support and also celebrates any contribution that they make.
Residents will become aware of NEST through community activism, council communications, and knowledge of the national brand. They can see who is helped, how they are helped and how they can get involved, either by donating, or giving time and connecting with other people through a website platform. Residents can also engage by going to the social space which acts as a hub for the community and holds regular events. After donating residents will receive recognition, invitations to events and time banking vouchers.
In the future, NEST could be used as a means of providing greater access to, and coordination of services, similar to the model used in Support Wellingborough, which provides a single point of access to support for all residents in need in the community.
The web platform
The social space
Central government would commission an outside party to develop the NEST brand, its supporting website platform and guidance on implementation.
An area would then do a pilot. The Council and Association of Voluntary Services would identify a representative to lead the pilot with the help of a service designer. The local council representative would have knowledge of the need and the voluntary services representative would bring the knowledge of support services.
They would then set up a meeting with social organisations and members of the community, which include those who are vulnerable and local activists. The meeting would seek people to join a Local NEST Partnership, who would be responsible for guiding the overall direction of NEST in their area.
The partnership would then create a local profile of needs, a plan for implementing NEST and identify a social space that can be used as a hub for NEST activities. Once this is in place they will be provided access to the brand and website so they can populate their platform. After learning from the pilot, the government would promote NEST at conferences. Any community is then free to form a NEST partnership and become their own NEST.
Client: Cabinet Office
Project date: 2016 January - 2016 March