The Ridge is a local community interest company with big ambitions. There’s a market gap locally in the provision of traditional and new rural skills. Training opportunities for the young and those who are not in employment are decidedly limited and difficult to get to in a practical sense. Round trips to college will take you 3 or more hours in some cases. So the idea is to provide new training opportunities locally. This is quite involved and accreditation has been obtained to run a host of sessions, working with Job Centre Plus and others. With recent funding from Coastal Communities, they are also embarking on a range of side projects which are intended to strengthen the local food economy, including a community based cafe that serves up locally produced and fresh food. Strange how the interest in food still sees so many local outlets serving up industrial frozen mush (I am told it is sometimes still frozen).

This works well with that other local delight Dunbar Community Bakery, whose website we had a hand in.

The brief was to create a platform that would permit the organisation to grow and to be able to create multiple web presences, intranets and similar goodies at the click of a button and mostly without reference to an expensive development agency. Staff needed to be able to add content easily, with a minimum of hands on training. Along the way we advised that the project now needed a branding exercise to give the organisation a credible and durable corporate identity. We worked with locally based based Moira Dempster, who has worked with an impressive string of big names, both national and international, for who she has completed a wide range illustration and graphic design for print and digital.

So this is what we delivered as part of stage 1. The first bit involved commissioning a virtual server with our lovely friends at Bytemark, the York based hosting company that we have been with since 2008. We now use BigV, which makes spinning up a new server adding memory and disk space a snap. We use Symbiosis to run Debian. WordPress enabled for networks runs the rest, while a clutch of clever modules and underpaid slaves behind the scenes sees to the backups and server and website monitoring.

The public site the-ridge.org.uk uses a nice and simple one page theme, which is responsive. This is just a starting point, and we expect the requirements catalogue to grow, but we are sure that we can provide 95% of the functionality required at relatively low cost, by utilising open source plugins or paid add ons, which do not break the bank. We cut a few costs, but no corners. The new branding looks and really is pretty versatile and should work flexibly across current and future projects.

UPDATE: WE’VE MOVED THE WHOLE KIT AND KABOODLE TO OURLOCALITY.ORG, ALONG WITH FRESH TEMPLATE AND DESIGN WHICH SHOULD IMPROVE THE ‘NETWORK’ BENEFITS