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TIPS
CHECKLISTS FOR ACTION
Although communicating with hard-to-reach communities might seem a daunting task, the key is to make sure you ask yourself questions to see whether the method you propose will be appropriate – the same as you would do before tackling any communication initiative.

The following checklists are designed so that you can pick and mix what’s most useful for the project you are planning. The checklists are: 1. What are you trying to achieve? 2. Understanding your target audience: consultation 3. Choosing the right medium In addition, you may find the FRANK Tips – Barriers to Communication and FRANK Facts – The Legal Framework (included in this pack) useful in helping to inform your communication with diverse audiences.

CHECKLIST 1
WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ACHIEVE?
What issue are you addressing? • What is the problem? • Who does it affect - everybody in the community or a particular group within it? • Do you know the relevant facts and figures about this target audience? What is your message? • What is your message in relation to this specific audience? • Do any generic messages need adapting? • How can you make your message as relevant as possible? Could case studies help? • What actions do you wish people to take as a result of your campaign? Who are you trying to reach? • Which communities are you trying to reach – and why? • Within your target community, who needs to know what? Are there different messages for young people, women, elders etc? Do you need a tailored approach? It’s worth checking first. For example, many young people from ethnic minority communities see themselves more in terms of mainstream youth culture and can be reached effectively through mainstream media. As do others in communities that are well established such as Black Caribbean people. However some older people, women and non-English speakers may need a more tailored approach. There is a helpful analysis of this issue in the COI Common Good research. (see page 17). Where does your audience live? • Are they found primarily in one particular part of town or everywhere? • Would estate-based initiatives be an option? • Do you know where the local Traveller sites are? Are there supporting spokespeople? • Is your message stronger or weaker if it comes from an official source? • Do you need to build trust through alternative spokespeople? (See the tip box on checklist 2 for useful information)

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CHECKLIST 2
UNDERSTANDING YOUR AUDIENCE
Community organisations • Check out any community organisations that can help you reach a particular population • Consult community organisations at the outset, as they can give you invaluable advice. The COI Common Good research shows that they are keen to work in partnership providing their involvement isn’t tokenistic. Think of them as an audience in their own right not just a distribution channel • Find out how they work with clients and how to support that work. For example, producing summaries of the key information points for their staff to use with their clients may be more useful than producing a leaflet • Ask how they think you should go about achieving relevance and impact, and what are the best ways to present information to a diverse client base What community workers want • Face to face contact, outreach and advice sessions for clients • Bilingual rather than monolingual translations • Summaries rather than long documents • Videos and audio cassettes in English and mother tongue Community Leaders It’s worth finding the people who have influence and respect in local communities. Local councillors, chairs of community organisations, professionals and religious leaders may be powerful ambassadors for your message. But be aware that such people are not always perceived as leaders by all members of that community. Some may be viewed as privileged or out-of-touch. Direct approaches How is information actually passed on? Word of mouth may be the most powerful way. Many communities are in areas with a small range of local facilities. Tap into these networks by going where people hang out and chat - for example local corner shops, hairdressers, clubs, record shops or betting shops. Which organisations are actively engaged with this population? • Can you work with community organisations, self-help groups, local residents’ associations, ethnic minority media, youth projects, faith groups? • Are there opportunities around religious festivals such as Diwahli, Eid or Chinese New Year? Check www.multicultural-matters.com for details of the dates – note that they may change each year Consulting on disability As with ethnic minority communities, it is important to consult relevant voluntary organisations and patient groups from the beginning. They will be able to advise you on content, media and presentation and may also endorse your message and offer valuable distribution channels.

COMMUNITY INTERMEDIARIES Many voluntary sector organisations who service hard-to-reach communities also deal with the needs of non-English speakers. They often give advice on issues such as housing, health and benefits and often provide a social focus for communities and a venue for cultural events. Community organisations form an important part of any communications plan, as they offer a valuable distribution network and also a source of advice and expertise on the best ways to inform people about particular issues.

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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT Development and outreach have been found to have important roles when communicating with hard-to-reach communities. Communities may be residentially segregated and served by a small range of local facilities, so word of mouth is often an important form of communication. For example, within Asian communities, news of the latest Hindi film releases or news from Bollywood spreads throughout the community with minimal organised publicity or advertising.

Audio and video tapes • A good option as they fit into everyday life. Many communities, regardless of background, watch TV or videos and listen to music tapes • Useful for English speakers who may be unable to read or write • Particularly effective for reaching out to families, a great way to channel your message

CHECKLIST 3
FINDING THE RIGHT MEDIUM
Finding the right medium It is very important that you choose the right communications medium, both for your message and for your audience. With some groups, verbal and visual media can be more effective than written; you may need to translate materials or you may find that producing your written literature for a worker or community representative to discuss in a face-to-face meeting is more appropriate. For any written or visual materials you will also need to look at type size, colour contrast, simple, jargon-free language, diagrams and pictures. This checklist gives some pointers on issues you should consider when developing your communication tools.

Telephone helplines • South Asian and Somali people are among the groups least likely to use a telephone helpline. They may lack confidence in English but also use the telephone less than mainstream society. Talking face-to face is usually preferred even to minority language helplines.

The media • Depending on the campaign, it may be most effective to combine mainstream and specialist media • People from ethnic minority communities want to be included in mainstream programming and advertising but do not want to see stereotyping. Be sensitive but pragmatic.

Leaflets • Some communities are unlikely to use leaflets at all. It may be more useful to produce a leaflet for community advisors to reinforce their face-to-face contact • Your material must be easy to display with immediate impact and relevance • Successful leaflets contain simple, actionable advice (‘if you need this, do this…’)

Tapping into the culture • Consider other ways to reach people through their lifestyles and pastimes. Music is important to young people and crosses ethnic boundaries. Tap into urban music such as R+B, rap, hip hop etc through music festivals and radio stations • Look at working with local football teams, leisure clubs and youth projects • Electronic media such as the web, text messaging, email are also important part of youth culture without ethnic boundaries

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TRANSLATIONS – PROS AND CONS
REASONS TO CHOOSE TRANSLATIONS
Statutory responsibility You may have a legal duty to produce materials in a certain language. Equal opportunities People from ethnic minorities have a right to see the same information as everybody else. This might be seen as a right, regardless of whether a translation is the most effective medium. Political concerns Organisations or local councillors may feel that translations prove they are addressing the needs of minority populations. Symbolism To signal to non-English speakers that their culture and language are valued. Habit It can just be a knee-jerk response. For example, there are now few Hindi speakers in the UK who cannot speak English so instead of translating into Hindi, other communities, maybe Afghans, Iraqis and Iranians need more help. Low English literacy/fluency For some communities for whom English is not the principal language of communication, translated materials can be a highly effective tool.

WHEN TRANSLATIONS ARE NOT THE BEST OPTION
Literacy Recent research shows that some Black and Asian communities have difficulty reading in their mother tongue, so translated leaflets may be less helpful than oral communications but it is best not to make assumptions. For example, Somalis are the group most likely to need translations, however some - particularly Somali women - may not be able to read and will need a verbal approach. Presentation Leaflets may be too complex, the style too official looking or too youth-oriented. Language barriers It may be that the particular form of the language is not right for the target audience, or that some communities speak one language but read another. Content Direct translations from English may not build-in appropriate material for minority audiences.

DO YOU REALLY NEED A TRANSLATION?
You could use simple English that an audience including those from ethnic minority communities and people with poor reading skills can understand. It can be useful to enlist the services of an editor who can help make sure the English is clear, both for people for whom English is not their first language and for those with low literacy levels.

TIPS FOR TRANSLATIONS
• Summarise complex information into simplified fact sheets • Make them bi-lingual in English and another language. They can be more useful for community advisers and for families with different generations • Put them on the web as PDFs so that copies can be downloaded and printed

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