top of page


Our pioneering youth engagement programme

The homes and spaces that will be created at the Garden Community are not only for people who are in housing need right now. They will be used by generations long into the future.

That's why Latimer are taking a pioneering approach to giving young people in Tendring district and Colchester a key voice in shaping the design of the Garden Community.

Our team are undertaking a unique youth engagement programme as we develop our designs. So critical is this to us that it began before we appointed our professional design and architecture team!

Led by youth engagement specialists MATT+FIONA, our activities have included a wide range of programmes and events to help us take inspiration from the ideas of local young people.

Our professional design team will build aspects of our young designers' ideas into the emerging plans for the Garden Community.

Young People's Forum Garden Community Masterplanning Session 2.JPEG
Young People's Forum Garden Community  Masterplanning Session.JPEG
board 2 FINAL_web.jpg

The Essex Young Designers

In March 2023, we established a youth forum made up of 13 young people, aged 13 to 17, from Tendring district and Colchester. The group have taken the decision to call themselves the 'Essex Young Designers'.

They meet regularly to take part in workshops delivered by MATT+FIONA and our professional design team to inform the brief and design for the Garden Community. The Designers represent a broad range of existing communities and attend different local schools and colleges.

Key achievements of the Essex Young Designers to date include:

  • Developing a keen understanding of the design principles behind the Garden Community and meaningfully feeding back to the design team on their work 

  • Traveling to the global EcoCity Summit in London to present their work and collaborate with professional placemakers.

Ecocity delegate_edited.jpg

School design challenge

In spring and early summer 2023, we held a schools design challenge. We invited local schools to design spaces they would like to see in the Garden Community in response to the design team’s emerging vision. MATT+FIONA held workshops for primary and secondary school students and provided materials for them to design and make small scale models to illustrate their vision for the Garden Community. Their work was exhibited at One Colchester Community Hub in Colchester City Centre and Brightlingsea Library.

The following schools took part in the challenge:

  • Brightlingsea Primary School

  • St Lawrence CofE Primary School, Rowhedge

  • Willowbrook Primary School, Colchester

  • Paxman Academy, Colchester

Summer studio and family day

During the 2023 school summer holidays we held a series of free architecture workshops for local 11 to 14 year-olds. The events took place at Firstsite in Colchester over three days with 17 young people taking part overall.

The young people were taught more about the Garden Community from expert designers, architects and landscapers and took part in hands-on design and building activities. This included creating ideas for public realm furniture that could be included in a garden next to Firstsite, which is being designed by the team from Beth Chatto Gardens in Elmstead Market.

The summer studio culminated in a creative family day when over 100 people, adults and children, were able to add their ideas to the model of the Garden Community.  

Our next steps...

The Essex Young Designers will continue to work with our professional design team to shape our plans and we will seek to recruit more young people from the area to join them in 2024. If you, or someone you know would like to register their interest, please get in touch using our dedicated project contact details.

Wider resident consultation

The project team have launched an extensive community engagement programme to enable local communities to shape and inform the design of the new Garden Community. At the heart of our approach is a commitment to an exemplary community engagement programme that we believe will set a new precedent for how communities are engaged and work collaboratively to shape new neighbourhoods.

We will give residents, stakeholders, community groups and individuals in the surrounding neighbourhoods and the wider area the opportunity to learn more about our proposals, and critically invite them to help shape them. 

Our activities include:

  • Three phases of well-advertised ‘roadshow’ public consultation drop-in events as the plans develop, beginning in Autumn 2023

  • Presence at a wide range of community events across Tendring district and Colchester

  • Continued and regular communication with councillors, elected representatives and community organisations and groups.

  • Engagement with local civic, cultural and business groups, charities and the voluntary sector.

  • Continued youth engagement programme through Summer Schools, youth workshops and Family Design Days.

  • Opportunities to view plans and feedback online via a dedicated project website and regular updates through our social media and mailing list channels.

The Engagement team

C360 Logo CMYK Simple.jpg

Community engagement co-lead

CVST logo.png

Community engagement co-lead

Grounded_logos clearbg white.png

Design team interface and local engagement


Social value


Key stakeholder engagement

M+F circle logo.png

Youth engagement

bottom of page