Revealing the value of community and culture for City of Westminster Council.

Revealing the value of arts and culture

By using AKOU’s platform and engagement team Westminster City Council gained a comprehensive and revealing insight into the arts and culture of Church Street helping to inform and develop their regeneration master plan for the area.


City of Westminster Council


Impact Measurement
Community and Business Mapping

Useful features of the AKOU platform

The AKOU platform allows organisations to demonstrate their local social impact by gathering data around key impact indicators (developed with guidance from the New Economics Foundation). This data is presented in easy to understand infographics. The platform also easily maps local relationships. 

This information is presented back to the user showing who their key connections are. Network maps are created and visualise the neighbourhood’s social infrastructure. Allowing both council and community to easily identify key ties, local businesses and organisations.

organisations mapped
local platform users and visitors
Arts and Culture funding distributed through AKOU platform

Recognising culture, uncovering local impact

Situated between the Marylebone Flyover, Edgware Road and Regent’s Canal is Church Street. Westminster City Council’s most deprived ward. The neighbourhood is home to a melting pot of residents and workers. It is home to antiques dealers, street traders and artists among others. Church Street is in the midst of a 20 year regeneration process which will see unprecedented transformation and change. 

Culture is key

Culture is at the heart of all of our lives (whether recognise it or not). In Church Street culture is visible from the street market, through to the community of antiques traders, and in the wealth of arts and community organisations that work there. Previous consultations indicated that the ward had an active arts and culture sector. But the council was lacking information and data to fully understand this sector and fully include it in their regeneration plans.

Building trust and transparency

There was a sense of mistrust from the community. Many expressed that they were concerned their businesses and premises would be swept away with the coming development. Added to this, the council lacked data and insight about just what each organisation brought to the local community, and how arts and culture played a key role in forming the neighbourhood’s wellbeing and identity. 

Capturing new data to prove and better inform plans

We provided a platform for better collection and visualisation of the local social value created by organisations that called Church Street home. Arts, cultural, community, and local business organisations could pin themselves to a map and local directory, demonstrate their local social impact and map the key connections and relationships that they relied upon for operating in the area.

It gave both the community and council a transparent and shared ground to better understand the area, who operated there and how they should be better involved in future plans. Above all, it helped to build a shared consensus, greater trust and greater collaboration.

Benefits for council and community

Data collected through the community platform helped secure £250,000 of funding in the form of micro grants to support arts and culture activities in the area. Our platform and consultation insights were used by both the Neighbourhood Forum and the council to influence the Neighbourhood Plan and the Master Plan.

Our findings gave a better understanding of the social infrastructure of the local area, and successfully helped to ease tensions between the council and community. (Explore some of the services that AKOU provided the Church Street community here)

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