BIC hosts successful creative hack to support local hospice

Willow Burn Hospice Hack

(Photo credit Gavin Forster)

Last month, local businesses, entrepreneurs and students came together at an event called #HelpTheHospice, held at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), to support Willow Burn, a hospice in Lanchester, Durham.

Organised by Birdsong Consultancy, a communications, digital and marketing agency from Durham, the event was a hack; an innovative way of solving a business challenge. This challenge was to spend just one day developing new and creative ways to help Willow Burn raise their profile across Durham and the North East.

Everyone who came donated their time for free, and more than £12,000 of consultancy was donated by those who came to the hack.

The 24 people who were at the hack came up with more than 30 initial ideas, which were narrowed down to five to work on in teams throughout the day.

The teams were made up of web developers, social media experts, photographers and filmmakers, communications and marketing professionals, students, brand professionals and innovators, bringing a wide range of skills and experience to the challenge of raising Willow Burn’s profile.

Birdsong Consultancy

(Photo credit Gavin Forster)

The ideas developed by the teams in just one day were:

• A toolkit of marketing materials was created to support community roadshows. 
•A Facebook Messenger chat bot was developed.
• A scheme was set up to get professionals to donate their time to the hospice.
• A student society at Northumbria University was established, called The Willowburn Initiative.
• A scheme called ‘One for me, one for you’ was set up so people could donate money when they pay for a haircut, manicure or exercise class and allow those at the hospice to enjoy a treat of their own.

The hack day was set up by Kate Vogelsang founder and Managing Director of Birdsong Consultancy, a communications, digital and marketing agency based in Durham. Kate said:

“I love hack events to show just how much people can achieve in a short space of time, and how creative and innovative they can be given the opportunity and the right environment. Willow Burn is a great cause and a wonderful place, but I knew they could do with some help marketing the work they do. The hack really couldn’t have gone any better, and I’m really impressed with what everyone has managed to do in just one day.”

Laura Jane Forbes, Senior Fundraiser at Willow Burn hospice added:

“I’m overwhelmed by the creativity and what was achieved in a day. This will make a massive difference to Willow Burn and we’re really grateful for everyone’s help.”

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