CAMPAIGNS: Community celebrates at Wilts awards - Community Relations

Client: Wiltshire County Council
PR Team: In-house
Campaign: People of Wiltshire Awards
Timescale: January - May
Budget: £1,500, plus £15,000 sponsorship

Wiltshire County Council (WCC) devised the People of Wiltshire Awards, the first awards of their kind in the country, to demonstrate its commitment to community planning.

Objectives

To raise WCC's profile as a community leader with the public and underline its role in working with other organisations to promote well-being and good citizenship.

Strategy and Plan

With community partnership as the central theme, it was key to secure the backing of the public and private sector.

From January, support was gained from organisations such as the local health authority, the police force, fire brigade, chambers of commerce, and voluntary organisations including Community First and the green group Agenda 21.

The BBC and local newspaper publisher, the Newsquest Group, were secured as media partners, which helped attract £15,000 backing from seven sponsors, including Virgin Mobile and the Nationwide.

In March, to publicise the awards and encourage the public to submit nominations, the PR team launched a month-long media and poster campaign.

A judging panel drawn from partners and sponsors picked the winners and an awards ceremony and dinner for 200 guests was held on 20 May in Devizes.

Measurement and Evaluation

The media and poster campaign attracted around 200 nominations across the six categories of Good Neighbour, Carer in the Community, Sporting Success, Youth, Environment, and Employer of the Year.

The awards gained coverage in local and regional media, including the Swindon Evening Advertiser and Spire FM.

BBC Wiltshire Sound broadcast an hour-long documentary on the scheme, while the BBC and Newsquest featured the award-winners online.

Results

WCC is in discussions with potential sponsors and partners for the People of Wiltshire Awards 2003.

The Council has also received enquiries from other local authorities, including Dorset County Council and the Corporation of London, keen to stage a similar event.

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