Govt set to hire agency for European Year of Disabled

The Government and disability groups are on the verge of choosing an agency to handle PR for the first European Year of Disabled People.

Events will take place across Europe throughout 2003 for the European Commission-backed event, with the UK campaign focusing on promoting disabled rights and participation in the event.

The PR agency is expected to be tasked with raising awareness of the year, publicising local and national projects, and increasing participation.

A decision on the successful agency or consultancy will be made by a national co-ordinating committee, led by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and including members of the Disability Rights Commission and charities.

A DWP spokeswoman said: 'It's still in negotiation and has yet to be finalised, but that should happen soon.'

She added that media relations work for the year will mainly be handled by the DWP press office, with the successful agency expected to concentrate on strategy.

PR work already carried out by the DWP has included a campaign to publicise local and national projects being funded as part of the year.

Around £1.5m in grants has been made available through DWP and EC funding, with as much as £10,000 available for each local project and £50,000 for regional or national projects.

The deadline for application forms is 27 September.

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