Atmospheric website design for Light up a Life

Project News
St Barnabas Light up a Life website by Root Studio

This year we’ve seen events cancelled up and down the country and this has had a dramatic effect on a number of industries, not least the charitable sector.

The care and support offered by our local and national charities and hospices are reliant upon millions of pounds worth of donations and fundraising every year and so the cancellation of their flagship community events has made a huge impact.

The multi-award winning St Barnabas Hospice in Lincoln is growing a reputation for creativity and problem solving when it comes to their yearly appeals and shortly after announcing that the COVID-19 outbreak would see them lose over £1 million in funding over the course of just a few months, they stepped up to the plate again with another great idea.

This digital experience is a first for us, and the entire UK Hospice community.

Around Christmas every year, St Barnabas hosts a series of Light up a Life events across the county, capped off with a dramatic torchlight procession across the cobbled streets of historic uphill Lincoln. This year, with the restrictions in place and the event assumed to be cancelled, the team tasked us with taking the event online. But how do you capture the atmosphere of such an occasion on a website?

“Christmas is a time for family. If you have lost someone, that’s when you notice the empty chair or the present you aren’t buying. Remembering that person with a light will help you through a difficult time of year, whilst enabling St Barnabas Hospice to care for those most vulnerable.”
St Barnabas Hospice

We knew that we wanted to create a digital experience unlike every other website, something emotive, absorbing and almost magical. We wanted contributors to feel like they were being treated to some theatre with a look and feel that captures that iconic torchlight procession that we enjoy each year. On top of this we needed to make sure that the website was accessible to all - whether they’re visiting on a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer and for each to get that same level of impact and engagement.

What we created for the team at St Barnabas was a dramatic microsite filled with animation, magical graphics, video, stories and a real glowing aesthetic throughout. The easy step by step donation process leads you to a fantastic hidden area of the website with an exclusive video immersing you within the crowd of that famous procession (filmed last year) and allowing you to browse the thoughtful messages and dedications left for others in the community through a unique interactive experience. You can visit the website for yourself here.

LUAL dedications page

“This digital experience is a first for us, and the entire UK Hospice community. We’ve worked tirelessly to create a beautiful online experience for anyone dedicating a light. We really are completely overwhelmed with how the website looks and want to say thank you to Root Studio for all their work to make it so. One of our proudest work achievements to date - mixing last years videography with a brand new online function. On the 24th we will showcase the ‘torchlight procession’ from our website/social media with something a little different.”

The complexities of this website would be a challenge for most designers and developers but there was one more twist to the tale - the design needed to be adaptable for other events in turn! Through careful consideration and planning, this same special event template has now been used to promote two other campaigns to date including the current Rudy’s Run activity and the hugely successful Dragonfly Appeal which raised over £110,000 for the charity earlier this year!

As always, it’s been a delight working with the team at St Barnabas whose dedication to the cause is an ongoing inspiration!