Blue Heart Team
Jenna Penny Dawes, Gustav Penny, Carolyn Penny – Photo Credit: Cathy Heaton

Blue Heart Communities is a community driven website that is an extension of the I Love Fourways Website.

The I Love Fourways – Facebook group was launched in 2014 to bring the local community together through social media. The group has given thousands of Fourways residents a platform to voice opinions, seek advice, get referrals, buy and sell unwanted goods and act as a lost and found. The objective of the group was to encourage engagement and participation through community driven issues and stories however due to the influx of business owners using the page to market their businesses it became difficult to see important information through the hundreds of advertising posts per day. We also identified repetition in posts, can you recommend a plumber, podiatrist, electrician, a good hairdresser, the community wanted referrals on local companies who offered good service, quality, and affordability.

Considering the needs of the community, we have developed a website that provides a centralized location and platform for all Fourways companies to market themselves and community members are encouraged to review their experience with these companies. Through these ratings, we hope to arm our community to make informed decisions based on local experience.

The reputation of I Love Fourways exceeded itself, residents from all over the northern suburbs of Johannesburg started joining the group because they loved the quality of the content and valued the standard and ethics of the platform. It became evident that communities all over South Africa craved this form of social media networking. We began rolling out community groups across SA in an effort to fulfil this need as well as developing the Blue Heart website to support these group. Creating a localised community group on Facebook has given residents the collective power to make the changes they want to see in their environments and drive accountability throughout our communities. Through our discussions, local authorities and residents are getting involved and making the changes they want to see, we have stimulated job creation, offered a helping hand to someone in need and sometimes just a good laugh at the end of the day.

Our communities look to us as a trustworthy source of information. They rely on us to manage the quality of the content, to bring them the latest news, to keep them informed, to connect them to people who can help them and manage the rogue members. They value our recommendations and the bridge we have provided between the corporations and the residents. As a collective community we have given them power to decide the change they want to see in their community. As leaders we give them the voice to make the change but manage the profiles to be respectful, kind and install a sense of good social media behaviour.

Keeping our community safe and happy is our primary concern. We are constantly thinking of ways in which to improve this and part of our plan is already on its way. We have teamed up with a local service provider and developed a panic button security app which has been linked up to our community website. Our website was developed to support our community group and to ensure we are giving the best service on all levels. It is basically a housing page which links back to our facebook group and facebook page as well as individuals business pages and or personal profiles. We would like to roll this out to all our other community groups of which we now have over 100 that we plan to run exactly as we are running ILF and with the assistance of this program, we would have the support of more team members to manage these groups in the same professional, safe and organised manner in which we run our hero group.

We have taken great efforts to provide you with a digital tool which is focused on improving your local experience however we would love to hear your views on how we ourselves can improve our service to you. Leave us a message through our contact us page and one of our team members will be in contact.

Yours Sincerely,
The Blue Heart Communities Team