Dewsbury Towns Fund – Public consultation


In July 2019, the Government invited 100 places across the nation to develop plans for a Town Deal, as part of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund.

Dewsbury was one of the 101 towns chosen to receive funding of up to £25million through the Towns Fund project. The Dewsbury Towns Board was established to prepare a Town Investment Plan (TIP), outlining the towns investment priorities and project proposals.

Social was appointed by Kirklees Council to deliver a public consultation which sought the views of residents, businesses, and other stakeholders about their aspirations for the £25m potential funding. The consultation findings would be a key component of the final Town Investment Plan to be presented to Government.

Our Solution

We invited residents to have their say on how funding should be used via a combination of digital and traditional engagement methods.  A website and interactive map provided a central ‘hub’ for the consultation. This was promoted through local media, the council and partners’ social media channels and via direct engagement with stakeholders.

As a diverse community, the integrity of the consultation depended upon all segments of the community engaging with the process. We provided leaflets in several languages to ensure that all local communities were aware of the consultation. We invited local faith leaders to a virtual forum and encouraged them to share the consultation with their faith communities.

We worked closely with local schools to establish digital focus groups, providing a forum for younger people in the town and shared the consultation on community Facebook groups, resulting in 77% of participants accessing the consultation via the social media platform.

Our Results

  • A5 leaflet sent to over 23,000 Dewsbury households – including translation to Punjabi and Urdu. Reaching digitally excluded groups and inviting written feedback.
  • Young people – online focus groups with three schools/colleges – 13-21 years old.
  • Focus groups/telephone feedback: businesses, young people, voluntary sector, housing associations, culture/arts, faith groups, politicians, active living/public health, leisure/transport and more.
  • Online platform – detailed and quick feedback: including survey (500+ responses) and interactive map (98 replies) to pin ideas and suggestions.
  • Social media and local engagement – press coverage and hundreds of comments/likes/shares across social media platforms, reaching younger demographics.
  • Successfully delivered consultation with a strong evidence base for future projects.
  • Created new council/community relationships – ongoing partnerships.

What was achieved

The Town Investment Plan was submitted to Government in January 2021.

Evidence of a robust consultation process was integral to the Town Investment Plan. In total, 502 members of the public participated in the consultation, proving feedback which helped to shape the final contents of the Towns Fund bid.

In June 2021, The Government approved the £25m bid.