A new digital platform is transforming how communities and generations can work together to deliver better, more sustainable places to live.
Devised and developed by Launchpad candidates Josh Guy, Katerina Sukstul and Neil Kirkland, who make up new start-up, Untangle, the GoCollaborate platform offers an effortless way for local communities to develop and deliver their Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDP).
As a Launchpad Strategic Partner, Cornwall Council provided the challenge for Untangle to tackle; exploring how community engagement in planning can be revolutionised.
Katerina explained: “Neighbourhood development plans affect everyone in the local community, and it’s vital that the whole community has the opportunity to have a say. We discovered that current engagement methods are very limited and serve only a few specific groups of people. More so, the pandemic has increased the engagement challenges faced by communities, making the NDP planning process even harder.
“GoCollaborate is specifically designed to make it easier for communities to consult on their plans. It offers a space where people can collaborate online to discuss issues, challenges and opportunities facing their local community, develop policies and agree actions to work together. It sits alongside traditional methods and allows people to have their say from the comfort of their own homes at a time which suits them.”
GoCollaborate was successfully trialled with Portreath Parish Council last year against the backdrop of the global pandemic. A pitch to Cornwall Council secured £10K funding to develop the platform further; supporting residents to engage over the entire consultation process of an NDP.
Katerina added: “We’re improving the current consultation process and giving communities a chance to voice their opinion online, in a more accessible way.”
Adam Birchall, Head of Sustainable Development and Innovation at Cornwall Council and the lead who worked with this new Launchpad venture, said: “We could see that technology could be the way forward in increasing community engagement in the planning process and have valued the work that the team have done in supporting local neighbourhood plan groups in a way that is distinct from some of the larger, more established platforms. The Launchpad Venture Studio at Falmouth University provided the resources to develop a way to make this happen.”
The team are planning to have two pilots ready to launch next month with Redruth Town Council and Carn Brea Parish Council communities, where they’ll test second build of the platform as well as helping these communities to connect with residents and consult on their NDPs.