Varsha Patel, whose role is PR, events and marketing manager at the Barking Riverside London, gives an insight into a typical day at one of the UK’s largest brownfield developments. Barking Riverside is a joint venture between L&Q and the Greater London Authority.
Varsha, a ‘Brummie’ living in Billericay, juggles the fast-paced job overseeing marketing activity for a new development 10,800 new homes with being a mum to her two young daughters.
9.45am: I arrive at the project office, which is located alongside the River Thames on the 443-acre site, within the grounds of the former power station, after dropping the children off to school and nursery. I get bags down, to-do list out, log in and – most importantly – get the kettle on.
10.00am: Catch up on emails and touch base with other Barking Riverside team members. We discuss any recent activity and new milestones we’ve hit (anything from receiving the green light from the Secretary of State for Transport for a new London Overground station on site, to agreeing which local artist will take the lead on a new mural in the grounds of the development). These chats often inspire content for social media and our website. Today, there is a buzz around the office about some fantastic new drone images of the site that have just come through. They look brilliant and I can’t wait to share them.
11.00am: Time for my weekly one-to-one with project director Matt Carpen. We go over any upcoming events and I brief him on PR and marketing updates. Matt brings me up-to-date me on high-level actions that require my attention and impending stakeholder site visits that are taking place. This week we have one of the original founders of L&Q visiting the site, Gospatric Home.
12.00pm: Coffee with reporters from the local newspapers. I give them an update on the project, and we head out for a quick off-road tour of the site in our branded jeep. Always a crowd-pleaser!
1.00pm: Today, we are working with an agency to run a short storytelling workshop. We have invited long-term residents for a cup of tea to reminisce about their childhood memories of the site. These stories will ultimately help form our naming strategy for street names and areas within the development. Getting to listen to the stories of one local resident, 86-year-old Joyce, is a particular highlight of the session. Her recollection of facts and level of detail is extraordinary!
2.00pm: A late working lunch and then back to the office to catch up on emails. I take a minute to pop out onto the deck to catch some winter sun, the tide is out and I spot a couple of seals basking on the mud flats!
2.30pm: Short conference call with our PR and events agency – Faust PR. We catch up on any upcoming projects, budgets, and run through our plans for 2018, as well as sign off the monthly content plan for our social media channels.
3.00pm:Another quick cuppa and then on to a meeting with future tech agency Hobs Studio. They’ve come to site to discuss updates on the 3D printed masterplan model they created for us earlier this year – it’s the largest of its kind in the UK.
4.00pm: An afterschool meeting with the heads of local schools to plan upcoming community events.
6.00pm: Spend a few minutes preparing tomorrow’s to-do list, ready for another great and action-packed day on site! Jump into the car for the journey home and start getting into mum mode.