As is relatively common for a community project, I started working on the Wellbeing Trail idea well before it became a defined project. My client at Samford Commons explained the basic concept back in April this year, and at that stage was looking to get buy-in from potential sponsors or partners. As these partners ranged from government departments to individuals, we decided the best way to get buy-in was to turn the concept into something real – something they could visualise and imagine being part of.
Early investigation and prototyping
Based on an initial understanding of how the trail might work, together with research into previous solutions (such as the Arts Trail), a knowledge of the aims of Samford Commons, and investigation of likely sponsors, I designed a realistic mock-up of a brochure to advertise the Wellbeing Trail.
This brochure included a map showing a number of stops on the trail, with a suggested route between these. It included real text that I wrote to illustrate the intended flavour of the copywriting and the style of activities offered on the trail. For example “Samford Tennis Club: See how many balls you can return in one minute” or “Millen Farm: Learn about growing, selecting and preparing healthy food, and try the Terrific Taste Challenge!”
At this stage it did not matter whether the stops and activities shown in the mock-up would actually be on the trail when it was finalised – the main aim was to make it seem like a real, viable trail that people would want to participate in. It was important for the brochure to look professional, so that it appeared as a serious, carefully planned proposition rather than an amateur community event.
Getting the go-ahead
The brochure was shown to potential sponsors and partners as part of ongoing consultations and relationship building by Samford Commons. The project soon became a reality, and the sponsors commented on the professionalism of the approach.
Samford Commons is now developing the trail in partnership with Moreton Bay Region Industry & Tourism (MBRIT), Moreton Bay Regional Council and other local sponsors including Samford Valley Rotary (who are providing a trackless train to help people get around the trail) and signage companies who are providing discounted signage for the event.
The Wellbeing Trail is planned for 20 October 2018, with the intention of extending the concept in future. The Trail will coincide with the ‘Samford 100’ celebrations, which recognise 100 years of Samford Village history, and culminate in a ‘Big Picnic’ at the park in the village centre. Both the trail and the picnic are being publicised throughout the region, and on the Our Samford website, and advertised in the local Village Pump newspaper.
Investigating the context and constraints
Once the project kicked off in earnest, I researched the context further, to determine who the stakeholders were, what stated outcomes were intended, what my role and scope was within the project, and which constraints would impact on how the project developed.
One of my first questions was “what is wellbeing?”. Words can mean different things to different people. My Samford Commons client said the following definition of wellness was very close to his understanding of wellbeing:
“Wellness refers to diverse and interconnected dimensions of physical, mental, and social well-being that extend beyond the traditional definition of health. It includes choices and activities aimed at achieving physical vitality, mental alacrity, social satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, and personal fulfillment.”
In other words, wellbeing is about the whole person. It is about satisfaction and feeling good, not just being fit and healthy. I decided to ask stakeholders the same question during the next stage, to check if they had a similar understanding.
Identifying the stakeholders
People are at the centre of this project. Not just the people who might benefit from improving their own wellbeing, but those who help them do that, and a range of other people in the community. The main groups of stakeholders (some of which overlap) are:
- wellbeing-related organisations (businesses and non-profits) participating as stops on the trail
- local people or visitors who come along and experience the trail
- sponsors/partners providing funds, products or services to support the wellbeing trail project
- local businesses who benefit from visitors coming for the trail and picnic
- Samford Commons members (and people in related entities) who can help promote the trail
Limited resources to play with
With community projects, time and budget are always a constraint, but sometimes there are creative ways to get around those. In this case I knew that human resources were limited, with just one main contact at Samford Commons trying to organise everything while juggling a full time job. And myself, as a designer and communicator juggling full-time university study! Other resources on hand were the sponsors (to help publicise the event) and the organisations participating in the trail (who need to plan their own activities and provide information about those).