The Princess Royal Trust for Carers (PRTC) works at a local level
through a network of 70 PRTC Centres providing information, support and
practical help to make it easier for carers to cope. A carer is anybody
who is helping to look after a partner, relative or friend who, because
of old age, long-term illness or disability would otherwise be unable to
manage at home without help.
To raise awareness of the PRTC and its expertise, and evaluate the ways
in which the centres were meeting the needs of carers.
Because of budget restrictions and the fact that the trust only has a PR
team of two, it was decided to tackle both objectives together through a
questionnaire that would provide the information needed by both the
operations and press and PR division.
A steering group, including PRTC head of press and PR Lesley Warner, was
established. Three key areas of concern to carers were identified:
whether a carer is consulted when somebody is discharged from hospital;
whether carers believe that GPs are aware of their needs; and, as carers
are undertaking many medical tasks, whether they receiving any
All centres were given the option of taking part in the survey and over
a third chose to do so. Participating carers’ centres were supplied with
questionnaires for distribution and from the 7,000 questionnaires
distributed, nearly 2,000 were returned.
Initial analysis of the results showed that the majority of carers were
caring for somebody for eight hours or more each day. It was decided to
focus on the large number and experiences of these full-time carers. The
PR team produced a provisional summary of the report’s findings to use
as a teaser, initially targeting features pages before releasing the
formal report, called ’Taken for Granted?’.
A core press release was written for the national and specialist press
which explained how carers are ’overworked and undervalued’ and a
template release for use by local carers centres were prepared, together
with guidelines on distribution and briefing notes for spokespeople.
A number of carers who took part in the research said they would speak
to the press, and were interviewed by the PR team to build up a bank of
strong human-interest stories.
Darling Buds of May star, Pam Ferris, was also fielded by PRTC for
The report launch was timed to coincide with a Government-wide review of
measures to help carers led by Health Minister Paul Boateng. The
Government findings should be published early next year.
Media coverage was impressive, particularly among regional press and
radio. Out of the national media, the Daily Telegraph and the Times, the
Guardian, BBC’s Breakfast News, GMTV and Radio 1’s You and Yours covered
The majority of regional radio stations talked to Gerry Mahaffey, the
PRTC’s London regional co-ordinater, via a link from Broadcasting House
in London, so that carers and experts were able to debate the key
Following the campaign, the PRTC received a large number of calls from
people who hadn’t realised they were carers or did not know about the
support available through the charity.
By encouraging carers to tell their stories, the PRTC was able to offer
the media strong human-interest angle toback to its report findings as
well as alerting other carers to the existence of the PRTC. It will have
to wait and see if the report’s recommendations for improvements in
support for carers and communication between them and the authorities
will be included in the Government review.
Client: The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.
PR Team: In-house
Campaign: Taken for Granted?
Timescale: Sept ’97 - Sept ’98