So, here is the idea, developed by Paul Burr of The CAN-Do Project (CAN= Community Advertising Network).
We set up a Leeds community group to run an advertising business. We put up roadside hoardings on land on some of the prime thoroughfares in our city, having got the permission of land owners and applied for planning permission where necessary.
Advertising on the sites gets sold to:
- National and multi-national corporations at premium rates
- Local small businesses at heavily discounted rates – with further discounts available for those that agree to take on a trainee, provide a placement or take on a mentoring role for example (wouldn’t it be nice to see local small businesses advertising on prime sites as well as the big corporates and multi-nationals?)
- Local social enterprises, charities and other good causes who help to manage the network get to a limited number of adverts free of charge.
Surplus revenues get re-invested back into the local community, for example to fund a micro-enterprise startup or loan fund, or to fund community and youth workers perhaps.
A great way of helping to use assets in the community (roadside land, and passing traffic) to realise community development through:
- direct income generation
- affordable advertising for local businesses
- creating jobs in administration of the scheme, erecting hoardings and posting up adverts
- building community capacity by encouraging mentoring and other social goods.
Paul’s research suggests that if we could establish 20 sites across the city it might be possible to generate several hundreds of thousands of pounds in advertising for local businesses and third sector organisations as well as substantial cash revenues each year.
Who could possibly object?
It seems that there are several major private sector providers of roadside hoardings in Leeds, who pay rent to the council for access to prime sites. Paul’s proposal could see money retained in the community where the hoardings are placed rather than going to the council, and could see a new competitor to the private sector suppliers.
I am sure too that many will protest against the positioning of further advertising hoardings across the city. These things are not always easy on the eye – but this would have to be off-set against the benefits.
A group of us, including LS14 Trust and SLATE have already met to explore the potential of such a Community Advertising Network in Leeds and see enough potential to explore the idea further. If you would like to join us to discuss the idea further. A meeting will be held between 12 and 2pm on March 5th at a venue to be confirmed.
We would especially love to hear from you if you would like to:
- get involved in managing the project,
- become a beneficiary of it
- provide us with legal advice and guidance
- offer us, or suggest, some land that we can use for these hoardings.
Whether you love the idea or hate it, please do let us know.