CAMPAIGNS: Gareth raises the profile for stammerers - Media Relations

Client: British Stammering Association (BSA), Scotland PR Team: BSA/Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland Campaign: BSA Open Consultation Day Timescale: September-October 2003 Budget: Pro bono

Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland offers a PR service to charities that it has funded, but which do not have the budget to do PR.

The British Stammering Association (BSA) received a capacity-building grant to strengthen its infrastructure and set up a Scottish branch. With 50,000 Scottish stammerers, the problem had not received proper recognition.

Objectives

To draw people who stammer from all over Scotland to its first consultation day on 4 October. To encourage people to volunteer for the charity. To raise awareness of the issue in Scotland through the media.

Strategy and Plan

Stammering is an issue that has not received much attention north of the border. One of the main problems people who stammer experience is isolation, particularly accentuated by the rural nature of many communities.

The new organisation wanted to find a way of putting people in touch with each other.

In order to create interest among as many people as possible, celebrities who stammer were approached to endorse the campaign. These included Gareth Gates, a BSA supporter, as well as former SMP John McAllion and writer Margaret Drabble, both BSA patrons.

The Lloyds TSB Foundation in-house team worked with the co-ordinator of BSA, Scotland to establish target audiences, geographical areas and communities where awareness needed raising.

Measurement and Evaluation

The consultation day itself attracted coverage across print and broadcast.

BBC Scotland's flagship news programme, Reporting Scotland, ran the story on all its bulletins the day before, and as a feature on its main morning breakfast show, Good Morning Scotland. The Herald ran a full-page feature on the issue with details of the consultation day, as did the Edinburgh Evening News. BBCi also covered the story.

Coverage of the day also ran in local publications and radio stations across Scotland, from Kingdom FM in Fife to the Ayrshire Post. Trade titles Third Sector and Third Force News also ran pieces.

Results

More than 50 people attended the consultation day, and all 12 voluntary places were filled at the event. Almost twice as many people volunteered as there were places.

The profile of the Scottish branch will also be raised when the BSA's Scottish national conference is held next year, followed by further consultation days.

The Herald feature writer Cate Devine felt the story had a good regional hook. 'The disparate nature of Scotland means people have suffered on their own, and a new Scotland branch was a strong angle for us to write about,' she said. 'It helps to have famous faces on their side too, as role models. The PR team was very good at getting people for us to talk to.'

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