Community Work with Web Applications

Rebecca Lawton

Executive Assistant

I never met a problem that cheese couldn't solve.

I have been working at Web Applications UK for the past week as part of the Debbie Abrahams MP ‘Working for Your Community’ Summer School. I have just finished my degree and I wanted to get some experience working in politics and in campaigning so I applied to the Summer School. The Summer School was set up to give young people such as myself the skills to set up and run community orientated campaigns. I have taken these skills with me to Web Applications UK to work within the Marketing team promoting Hackfest 2016, a youth coding competition in association with Hack Manchester, taking place in August.

Hackfest aims to raise awareness about coding amongst those aged 13 to 18 years, whilst also teaching them how to code and work as a team. My task has been to market and gain publicity for the event, in order to get participants and other businesses involved. I have used a variety of methods to gain publicity. Firstly I contacted local schools and colleges via email to see if they were interested in entering teams, however I soon realised I was unlikely to receive many replies since most schools had either closed or were about to close!

Changing tack, I got in touch through Twitter, which had a greater response rate and engagement. Furthermore I was able to get many other people and organisations to tweet about Hackfest such as Debbie, councillors and local businesses, most of which had thousands of followers we could reach out to. I have also posted on local Facebook groups, in an attempt to raise more awareness about Hackfest amongst parents and students in Oldham and Rochdale.

Not only have I been trying to get publicity, but at Web Applications UK we have also been trying to make the publicity campaign more effective. Working with Design Intern Josh, I created an image which compacted all the relevant information, which made Hackfest look more appealing and could inform about location, time and date amongst other pieces of information very quickly. It also meant that it could also be efficiently shared on social media on large computer screens and small phone screens which tend to cut off large pictures at the bottom. This is it below:

For the rest of my placement I will continue to work on getting Hackfest more exposure to ensure that we do get as many participants and businesses involved as possible. I hope the skills I learnt with Debbie and her team last week have been put to good use and I hope that Hackfest 2016 is a successful one!