LaSalle’s Community Programme Creates a Sense of Place

01/08/2016

LaSalle Investment Management’s strategic approach to community engagement is linked in to the marketing strategy for each of its UK shopping centres. A host of community activities, from a pop-up forest and football museum, to fundraising events and community art displays, have helped community partners raise awareness and valuable funds, at the same time as helping create a sense of place at LaSalle’s shopping centres, generating positive media coverage and helping drive footfall.

Over £50,000 invested in community activities in 2015

Over £180,000 fundraising in 2015

Footfall uplift during community activities

Situation

LaSalle Investment Management is a leading real estate investment management firm, which has long supported community activities. In early 2014, LaSalle introduced a more structured approach to community engagement at all its covered shopping centres in the UK, including:

  • Involving the local community in events and activities as part of the marketing strategy for each centre
  • Investing marketing budget in community activities
  • Working with at least five local stakeholders per centre each year
  • Supporting local community initiatives and raising money for charity
  • Providing space for community activities and charity fundraising free of charge.

Local stakeholders include charities, community groups, schools, nurseries, colleges, universities, sports teams, councils, town centre management teams and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).

Actions

Innovative use of space includes:

  • Pop-up forest at Pyramids Shopping Centre, Birkenhead, with Birkenhead Park Rangers, including free games, craft workshops, live animal displays, storytelling and den making. This followed the success of a Junior Rangers pop-up with the Park team the year before.
  • Pop-up football museum at Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre, Wrexham, to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Wrexham Football Club and raise funds for Wales Air Ambulance, featuring memorabilia, treasure hunts and table football tournaments. Visitors could be photographed with a replica world cup for a donation.
  • Pop-up garden at the Swan Centre, Leatherhead, working with Leatherhead Community Garden, including a herb patch, gardening lessons, cookery demonstrations, children’s story times, craft sessions and dance performances.
  • Community area at the Mercat Centre, Kirkcaldy, with events including a charity photo opportunity, artwork by local schoolchildren, craft activities dinosaur day and a Race for Life promotion.
  • Community hub at Artizan Shopping Centre, Dunbarton, used for free by over 70 local community groups, charities and stakeholders in 2015, hosting activities from craft workshops to exhibitions by local artists.

Fundraising and funding activities include:

  • Massive Magical Bean Machine in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital at the Brunswick Centre, London. Inside the machine, children collected their laughter, dancing energy and smiles to put magic into the beans, with a photo to take away too.
  • Moonlit Walk launch in aid of Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice, hosted at Broadway Shopping Centre, Bexleyheath, complete with warm up classes and free entertainment. The Centre’s Christmas grotto is also staffed by volunteers for the Hospice.
  • Shop for Schools at Four Seasons Shopping Centre, Mansfield, offers 30 local primary schools the chance to win up to £3,000 for school equipment. Shoppers take their receipts to the Customer Service Desk to receive points vouchers for every pound spent at the Centre, which they can use to vote for their favourite school.

Creative community initiatives include:

  • Cycling celebration at the Victoria Centre, Harrogate, supported Harrogate’s event for the Grand Départ of the Tour de Yorkshire, with bespoke artwork by local people displayed in the Centre, including knitted bunting, a knitted bike and colourful flags created by local children, as well as free workshops for children led by an artist.
  • I love where I live at Clarendon Square Shopping Centre, Hyde, saw local artists, community groups, retailers and schoolchildren working together to create a piece of art on the theme of I Love Where I Live, installed in the corridor leading to the Centre’s newly refurbished toilets.
  • Trash Couture at the Howard Centre, Welwyn Garden City, involved local students buying items from the YMCA charity shop and adding their own improvements. The upcycled items were then displayed in the Centre and on social media, where shoppers voted for their favourites, with the winning students receiving shopping vouchers.
  • Window of Fame saw 300 local children transform the arched window at Royal Priors Shopping Centre, Leamington Spa, to celebrate the Centre’s 25th anniversary, creating self-portraits and a sun design, unveiled by the Mayor of Royal Leamington Spa.

Financials and benefits

Both LaSalle and occupiers contribute to the marketing budgets:

  • Over £50,000 invested in community activities in 2015.

Benefits for community partners include:

  • Over £180,000 fundraising in 2015
  • Raising awareness e.g. 20% rise in bookings for the Birkenhead Park Forest Schools Programme.

Challenges & Achievements

 

ROLL OUT

 

How to deliver local programmes at every centre?

 

Through its portfolio-wide relationship with retail marketing partner Bewonder, LaSalle was able to seamlessly implement community activities across its shopping centre portfolio, as roles were already established at each centre and there was a marketing budget to draw on. Bewonder works closely with the centre teams, local communities and stakeholders to develop and deliver community activities at each centre, as well as monitoring performance measures, including community benefits, footfall and media coverage. LaSalle reviews all community activities at the end of each year and produces an internal booklet of case studies to share best practice. The positive response to community activities from local stakeholders and shoppers, combined with the strong return on marketing investment and feel good factor have helped embed the programme at a local level.

 

QUALITY

 

How to ensure quality engagement?

 

LaSalle set a target for each centre to work with at least five stakeholders each year. The team is keen to ensure that this is quality engagement, building ongoing local relationships, generating positive local coverage and creating a sense of place. Particular successes have included the partnership with Birkenhead Park Ranger team and Wirral Council at Pyramids, with Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice at Broadway and with local schools at several centres. LaSalle engages with Bewonder and centre teams to give feedback on engagement quality. LaSalle continues to improve this programme to ensure that the shopping centres, occupiers and local communities get as much benefit as possible. Exciting new activities are in the pipeline.

Find out more

Sophie Carruth

Head of Sustainability - Europe

LaSalle Investment Management

 

http://www.lasalle.com/

Moonlit Walk at Broadway Shopping Centre.

“We are delighted at how our shopping centre teams are supporting community initiatives and engaging with local stakeholders. Community activities not only bring benefits for local partners, they can really help create a sense of place.” 

Sophie Carruth, Head of Sustainability – Europe, at LaSalle Investment Management