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The client 

For over two decades, the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum (NNRF) has been providing support, practical advice and friendship to local refugees and asylum seekers. 

The Nottingham charity centre provides a welcoming and safe community space, where specialist advice and support services can be accessed. They strive to help those who are seeking refuge, and those who have been granted refugee status, as they try to rebuild their lives in the city.

NNRF’s vision is a society where asylum seekers and refugees are welcomed, receive fair and compassionate treatment and the support to rebuild their lives: a place where no human is illegal. 

The challenge 

An uncertain geo-political landscape and the legacy of the 2012 ‘Hostile Environment’ policy means that NNRF’s services are more vital than ever. NNRF work with over 3,500 refugees and asylum seekers each year, serving around 40 hot meals a day since reopening their ‘Community Café’ in October 2021. These numbers are only expected to grow in the coming years.

As a charity, the NNRF are heavily reliant on donations and volunteers to continue delivering their lifesaving services. Their website, therefore, is an essential tool, both for those who need the charity’s support and as a promotional tool to raise the funds and public awareness the forum so desperately needs. 

Hallam were given the opportunity to update the charity’s current branding and reflect this through a new website design, turning the website into a one-stop destination for all manner of enquiries which needed to meet the demands of a digital-first experience for donors, service users and supporters alike. 

What we did 

We began the project wanting to understand more about the NNRF brand and its audience. To do this, we began with a deep-dive brand audit, identifying strengths and weaknesses in the brand’s current presentation and providing recommendations on what to do. 

There were a lot of positives of the current branding, many of which we simply wanted to enhance rather than completely redesign. The main changes included a more cohesive colour application, a consistent and stylish typography, and clear guidance around photography. This was summarised in an easy-to-use brand guidelines doc for NNRF to rollout across the organisation. 

The brand audit also provided a lot of insight into areas of improvement on the website. General consensus was that the website was overwhelming, with unclear navigation and hard-to-read text. 

With the feedback in mind, we wanted to create an engaging, fit-for-purpose website on WordPress CMS that provides a user-friendly experience for refugees, volunteers, donors, and everyone in between. 

We built them a bespoke website, based on the UX wireframes and UI designs created by our Experience team. We wanted to ensure that updating future website content would be a straightforward process for staff, so created a custom suite of flexible drag and drop blocks which was used to populate the majority of content across the site. 

Alongside the web build, our SEO experts were on hand to ensure strong underlying technical SEO which included pre and post launch SEO checks.

The results 

The finished product was a faster, sleeker website with far better standard accessibility best practices. 

Our work on the new site has reduced the homepage’s average load time by around 40% and, following the launch of the new site, there was a significant increase in the user engagement recorded. 

In the three months following the launch, there was an increase of 24% of the number of pages viewed in comparison to the previous year. This also led to an increase in time spent on site by 5% as users engaged more with the site content, travelling to further pages.

“Hallam has been a joy to work with. The constant communication and all-round friendliness of the team has enabled us to launch a successful new website. This will help us massively in increasing the number of essential donations we need for providing our vital services. A massive thank you from all of us – this will have life-changing implications for our service-users in the future. We would always highly recommend Hallam to any of our peers in the charity sector.”
Barbara Dhliwayo, Volunteering and Engagement Manager at NNRF


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