Turning the bad into good – How we used paper to signify our advice services at The City of London Community Fair

Turning the bad into good – How we used paper to signify our advice services at The City of London Community Fair

By Helen Evans, Advice Services Team Manager

Helen Evans, Advice Services Team Manager at Toynbee Hall attended the City of London Community Fair to promote the City Advice service. City Advice is a free advice service that offers confidential and impartial advice to help people in the City of London manage their everyday problems.

It’s that time of year again, when Guildhall Yard in the heart of the City of London is transformed into a fun, music filled bungee jumping, stilt walking extravaganza.

Dave Barnard (Head of Community Services) and I spent Saturday 17th July staffing a stall at the City of London Community Fair. Last year we dressed as pirates and encouraged people to find the hidden treasure locked away in a treasure chest made by Dave’s daughter Lucy. It was a great success, so the challenge was on to match that.

Knowing we had an origami aficionado in the guise of Jaime from the advice team, we opted for the theme of paper. We were changing bad paper, such as gas and council tax bills, into good paper, such as wallets, hearts, and little containers that could hold a flyer or card detailing our services and a few very popular sweets. Our aim was for visitors to our stall to see the connection between this and what we can do for them, namely turning a bad situation into a good one.

Our aim was for visitors to our stall to see the connection between this and what we can do for them, namely turning a bad situation into a good one.”

So far so good- we had our mock up bills ready, Dave had skilfully cut out of newspaper into the letters of Toynbee, to put on the front of our stall. We had our pull up banner and flyers ready in abundance, when Jaime gave us the bad news that he was unable to join us- Argh!

No longer would we have beautifully crafted paper items made by Jaime and  visitors to our stall, no master class in the art of paper heart making- it was looking grim. But Dave and I were not going to give up, so we had to try and dredge up  any latent paper skills we may have had from our school days, and amazingly it served us well.

Jaime made us some beautiful paper hearts to decorate our stall and to give out to visitors’, it looked great. We were joined by Lynn from Healthwatch City of London, and between us we engaged with lots of new people, the majority of whom are City residents, who we hope to be able to help in the future. The paper making skills were well and truly tested when both the Director and Assistant Director of Community and Childrens Services, who are responsible for commissioning our services, came along to the stall. But we rose to the challenge admirably, making them a lovely paper wallet out of a gas bill, filled it with sweets and marketing materials about our services.

It was a great fun day which enabled us to do some joint work with partners as well as engaging with local people who will hopefully use us in the future plus tell their friends and neighbours about our services.

City Advice is available to any who lives, works or studies in the City of London. If you need advice find out how we can help.

 

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