Knightstone’s 'Little Castles' film aims to change perceptions of social housing
Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing
Knightstone's 'Little Castles' film aims to change perceptions of social housing
By Emma Cooke, senior communications coordinator at Knightstone Housing
‘Little Castles’ is a film about Knightstone - the largest housing provider with homes in both the West of England and Somerset. It sums up who we are, why we exist and the difference we make in people's lives.
In the last week, it’s been shared all over Twitter by some of the big names on the UK housing scene. They’ve been saying some great things, suggesting that 'Little Castles' is a step up from previous attempts by housing associations to tell the real stories of why we do what we do. We couldn’t be more proud.
As a business, Knightstone has been through a lot of change in the past three years. Since 2o11 we’ve refocused our area, reshaped our services and refreshed our ways of working; we’ve been through a wholesale transformation. In November 2013, this major programme of change culminated in us moving out of six regional offices into one office in Weston-super-Mare – the centre of our new heartland – and launching a new brand.
It was the perfect time to take a step back and remind ourselves of why we’re here and to reflect upon all that we’d achieved in the last two and a half years. What better way to do this than through stories - stories from the people at the heart of Knightstone, our staff and our residents?
We enlisted the help of the designers we’d worked with throughout our rebrand; they know Knightstone inside out and immediately understood what we were trying to achieve. They made some suggestions about how the film could look and feel, as long as we could find the people to take part.
Finding those people was so much easier than we thought it would be. As soon as we explained to people what we wanted to do and why, they were more than happy to get involved. We told them that we wanted to make a film about ‘home’ – about their homes and their communities – which would help break down the stigma that is so often attached to social housing. They wanted to be a part of it and tell their stories.
And so the filming began. People took part from across Knightstone, from our chief executive to the front line staff who work with residents on a daily basis. Residents came forward from our general rented and supported housing schemes, and from our family of resident involvement groups. They all wanted to tell us what ‘home’ and being a part of Knightstone meant to them.
The film premiered at The Playhouse in Weston-super-Mare where we launched our new brand to staff. Over 300 staff came along and the applause and cheers at the end of the film made us realise we’d done it; we’d successfully told the story of Knightstone, bringing the brand to life, and showing the world why we do what we do.
Last week, with one little tweet to the CIH, we brought 'Little Castles' to the attention of other housing professionals. That tweet has been retweeted and retweeted and the housing world sat up and listened. As a sector, it’s time for us to realise the power digital media has given us; it’s given us the power to tell our stories and change perceptions. So let’s get on with it!