Client: Essex County Council Social Services
PR Team: In-house
Campaign: A Suitcase Full of Emotions
Timescale: November 2000 - June 2001
People in Essex had the perception that children in care are 'bad' and
are there because they have done something wrong. Essex County Council's
social services department wanted to show that this view was
The campaign won the Best Publication category at the IPR Local
Government Group awards.
To give children in care the chance to have a voice. To challenge the
negative perceptions of children in care.
Strategy and Plan
Essex children in care had an outlet for their experiences and emotions
through creative writing. After discussion with them, the team decided
to use their work to create a poetry book. The book, A Suitcase Full of
Emotions, was marketed at cost price with all proceeds going to a
children's amenity fund.
The Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, wrote the foreword and 2,000 copies
were printed, priced at £2 each. The launch of the book was timed
to coincide with Christmas and with a period of local hostility
surrounding an Essex children's home.
A release was issued to local and targeted national media. The book was
sent to libraries and shops and placed in social services offices.
Councillors were sent copies.
Details were posted on websites and intranets, published in staff
newsletters and displayed at exhibitions. Council staff took copies to
multi-agency meetings, events and council PROs that worked with
Measurement and Evaluation
Coverage appeared in local papers, The Guardian, specialist press, on
Anglia Television and on BBC Essex.
More than 1,700 books were sold and the council received requests to use
extracts to reinforce messages about children in care to groups around