A Strategic Perspective

A Strategic Approach to Engaging All Young Families  

Wakefield’s 50 Things was given the green light by the Children’s Board during Covid-19, to help support families and encourage under 5’s to become more school ready.   

Shaping the project  

The Arts, Culture and Leisure section of the council have taken the lead on the initial development and tailoring of the project. A steering group was formed with a representative from Libraries, Museums & Castles, Health Improvement, and Social Marketing Team. Due to management requesting the app to be developed within 6 weeks it was agreed that the steering group should remain small initially. We feel this was a positive step as it initially allowed Wakefield to explore the project from a different perspective compared to other areas. 

Involving Key Partners 

In addition to the steering group, a Key Partners email network was created and they were kept informed throughout the process.  

The network includes representatives from; The Early Years team and a setting representative, Heath Visitor team, Children Services, Fostering team, SEND team, Maternity team, Public Health, Parks and countryside, School improvement officers, Communities team, Adult services and Community groups such as F.A.B, Mumbler, Home start and Young Lives.  

The network has been given opportunity to input ideas and links and indicate how they would be able to promote and support this project through their services. More of these representatives will be invited to the steering group as we progress.  

Developing a rich and vibrant app 

In developing the app we have utilised the skills of our staff within ACL.  This has meant staff physically going out to research where bridges, tunnels and water features are; library staff reviewing books and amending; and our internal marketing team developing unique social media and marketing plans. 

Sourcing images was a difficult task as we were unable to go out and take new ones due to the restrictions, however we managed to engage 16 families with 20 different children. Once launched we will gather feedback and determine by the end of the summer if we require any image changes.  

The feedback throughout has been phenomenal and all partners have recently viewed the app and website and are happy with what we have done so far. In particular a parent forum for SEND children has passed comment that everything seems to be covered and they are happy to promote for us.  

A 'Thunderclap' launch… 

We launched on 20th July 2020, at 10.50am. To maximise the impact, we encouraged partners to schedule posts on social media for this time so we create a ‘Thunderclap’ online.  This was a great success! 

…and our strategy to build momentum 

Throughout the summer period we focused a general online campaign around the Call to Action, ‘Download now’.  In addition, bi-weekly posts gave a taster of the variety of activities on offer in 50Things.   

Our aim is to reach larger demographics, as different activities will appeal to different people.  After reviewing the initial data and stats we are looking to focus our marketing activities.  We will be continuing to analyse the data and will be using social media campaigns to reach certain areas and demographics.  

Family Safeguarding and ACL are sending out separate summer activity booklets to all homes across the district, in which 50Things features.  

Wakefield Council Comms will be putting screensavers on council computers, adding to the Intranet and council websites. 

We have done a pilot print, see attached, which will be specifically distributed to approximately 3000 families initially via the Children’s Centres, Community Hubs, and the Early Years team ‘2 Year Old Offer letter’.  

Print and distribution will be reviewed before we look at additional print and flashcards. 

Growing 50 Things Across Wakefield – a phased approach 

In September, we will focus on Early Years settings, Schools and Children Centres, encouraging them to download and promote the app to families. In October we will focus on the wider community. 

The next phase will be all about engagement and keeping the momentum up.  

Our initial focus will be Early Years settings and developing an approach whereby the settings utilise it as a tool to compliment the EYFS.  They will become Champions, then Ambassadors upon completion. This area of work will heavily encourage parents also using the app at home.  

Community Engagement: Be more Wakefield 

A key campaign within Wakefield is Discover Your District and many of the 50 things fits nicely with this and adds a complimentary section for families to the current offer and campaign. 

Wakefield will utilise the many places and opportunities we have, and ensure that when people visit a linked place, they are informed that they can do one of their 50 Things activities here.  At the same time, when families visit the app, they will know where in Wakefield they can go to do one of their 50 things. Such sites will use a mixture of banners, A-Boards and interpretation panels to raise engagement and awareness.  

Future plans for growing 50 Things 

We will be looking at unique ways to engage people, this may be using a range of social platforms to support the promotion, developing videos for each activity so it reaches those that prefer ‘quick fixes’ rather than reading, competitions, calls to actions, paid socials, seasonal prepped posts to partners, link partners to each activity.  

Our vision is to see 50 Things used and enjoyed by every young family across Wakefield. 

Written by

Angie Gaughan
Health Improvement Team 
Wakefield Council


If you would like to discuss this case study please contact Andrea Layzell using the following contact details:

01274 543282




Washington Street,
Bradford BD8 9QW


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