Heritage Crafts is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to preserving and promoting traditional craftsmanship in the UK. 

The team sought help from Participation People to review and refine its positioning and communications, understand how they could engage better with the next generation of young people and continue safeguarding important skills and knowledge for the future.


As a ‘youth proof to future proof’ project, we set out a plan with the ultimate aim of tailoring Heritage Crafts’ message to appeal more to young people. We needed to enhance the use of communications channels and social media, plus involve young people in co-facilitating the design and delivery of an audience engagement strategy that would encourage young people to lead the way in preserving traditional craftsmanship.

The process involved a series of workshops and consultancy sessions, engaging young people in playing an active role as co-facilitators, and collaborating with senior stakeholders at Heritage Crafts to ensure that the perspectives and preferences of this new target audience were enshrined into strategy.

The workshop phase

Workshop One: exploring young people’s interests

The first workshop focused on understanding the interests and motivations of young people regarding traditional crafts. Through group discussions and interactive activities, young people shared their perspectives on craft-related hobbies, potential careers, and the impact of heritage crafts on their lives. These insights formed the foundation for refining Heritage Crafts’ offering.

Workshop Two: tailoring the offer

The second workshop delved deeper into how young people engage with opportunities outside of school. Young people were encouraged to express their preferences and suggest ways Heritage Crafts could adapt their existing programmes to better resonate with youth interests. This workshop facilitated creative brainstorming and generated numerous ideas for engaging young people in traditional craftsmanship.

Workshop Three: leveraging technology and social media

Recognising the importance of digital platforms in engaging young audiences, the third workshop explored different social media channels and expectations from technology, helping Heritage Crafts to identify relevant platforms and strategies for reaching diverse groups of young people. Discussions revolved around creating captivating online content, fostering virtual communities, and leveraging social media influencers to amplify Heritage Crafts’ message.

The consultancy phase

Following the workshops, Participation People provided one-on-one consultancy sessions to Heritage Crafts’ staff and trustees. 

The consultancy phase aimed to refine the organisation’s audience strategy based on the insights gained from the workshops, developing a comprehensive plan for engaging young people in traditional craftsmanship by highlighting the benefits of learning traditional crafts, and potentially transforming hobbies into viable career paths.

The consultancy phase also focused on empowering young people to take on leadership roles within Heritage Crafts. By involving young people in decision-making processes now and moving forwards, Heritage Crafts aimed to ensure the long-term preservation of traditional craftsmanship.

Outcomes and impact

By engaging young people in decision-making processes, Participation People’s workshop and consultancy approach secured positive outcomes for Heritage Crafts across the following areas:

  • Refining the offer: Insights gained from the workshops enabled Heritage Crafts to tailor programmes towards younger audiences.
  • Expanding comms channels: Heritage Crafts adopted new social media channels and embraced new technology to reach a broader demographic of young people, leveraging these platforms to showcase the benefits of traditional crafts and entice diverse groups of young people to get involved in new ways. They are now actively recruiting a social media content creator to help bring these social channels to life. 
  • Enhanced audience strategy: With guidance from Participation People, Heritage Crafts is further refining its audience strategy to appeal to a broader range of young people, focusing on potential career opportunities and preserving cultural heritage.
  • Youth leadership: The involvement of young people as co-facilitators and consultants fostered a sense of ownership and empowerment. Heritage Crafts actively integrated young voices into decision-making processes, ensuring their perspectives were valued and respected. This approach contributed to the organisation’s sustainability and long-term success in preserving traditional craftsmanship for the next generation.


The combined approach of workshops plus consultancy, using the active involvement of young co-facilitators, proved so worthwhile in Heritage Crafts gaining and using insights on how to engage the next generation.

By empowering and engaging young people to lead the way in preserving traditional crafts, Heritage Crafts continues to protect the UK’s heritage and ensure the longevity of protected craftsmanship.


“We have wanted to hone our positioning in the eyes of the general public – our potential supporters – for some time, but when we began working with Participation People (initially on ‘youth proofing’ our offering), we had no idea about how transformational the process would be in seeing ourselves afresh.

This transformation will help not just in terms of youth engagement but in every aspect of how we are seen and supported. It will take time to implement everything we have learnt, but it’s exciting to see staff and Trustees coming at projects with a youth perspective forefront in their minds, something that will pay dividends for our cause in the coming years.”

Daniel Carpenter, Executive Director, Heritage Crafts


*Image credit: Oliver Taylor