Blackpool GovJam have successfully applied to the UKGovCamp grant fund and will receive £500. Below is their application:


Name of applicant:Dan Howarth

Description of the event: On 23–24 October 2019, Blackpool will host the first ever GovJam on the North West coast. This independent, volunteer-run event will bring together members of the public of all ages, with volunteers who design public services in their day jobs.

Over two days, we’ll learn how to apply design thinking and service design techniques to improve public services in the local area, and work together to identify problems and design solutions.

It’s an exciting time for Blackpool. There are well-documented challenges in this historic seaside town. We have some of the poorest mental and physical health outcomes in the UK, and many of the country’s most deprived neighbourhoods. The local economy has always relied on tourism, but there’s so much more to the town and its people. Now, there’s investment in high-speed broadband, and it’s the ambition of the local council to make Blackpool an exciting digital place to live and work. GovJam is a great opportunity to galvanise local interest in public services and build a digital community here.

We already have over 50 people signed up to the event. We want it to be as inclusive as possible, so it’s completely free and open to all ages.

Plugged into the Global GovJam – a network of events that are taking place simultaneously all over the world – participants are part of an event with local significance and international resonance. We’ll communicate with fellow jammers, via Twitter and video calls, from Bucharest to Buenos Aires, and put Blackpool back on the map.


How much funding are you looking for? £500

What do you expect the funding will be used for? Stationery and creative materials; food and refreshments for participants; printing and distribution of information; digital archive of the event’s outcomes.

Finally, please tell us a bit about yourself, what you do, and your interest in running this event: My name’s Dan Howarth and I’m a content designer at the Department for Work and Pensions. I’m part of a team of volunteers, which includes Jacinta Mellenger (service designer), Debbie Blanchard (product owner), Lisa Jeffery (communications), Liz Whitefield (delivery) and Justin Coyne (delivery), who work across public services in the north. We’re passionate about making a difference in our community, and helping Blackpool realise and achieve its potential.

Personally, I want to apply my skills to solving local problems, and share them with people who are unfamiliar with service design and user-centred design techniques. I’m looking forward to learning from others, and meeting like-minded people. Events like GovJam instigate more conversations and initiatives, and I can’t wait to see how the digital community in Blackpool grows.