Awesome Movement Day uses comms to promote respect for emergency services

London Ambulance Service (LAS) led activity to mark the debut Awesome Movement Day, which aims to boost recognition of the work of the emergency services.

London Ambulance Service led PR activity around the #AwesomeMovement Day campaign
London Ambulance Service led PR activity around the #AwesomeMovement Day campaign

Taking to an open-top double decker bus, staff from LAS, the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade joined forces to unveil the campaign.

It used social-media platforms including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to tease the celebration, before the launch of the #AwesomeMovementDay on Friday (20 September).

Throughout the day, social-media activity ran alongside the main PR launch, which included a branded bus driving through the streets of London to accelerate awareness of the campaign.

Videos shared on social media included interviews with those working in the emergency services.

The aim of the first #AwesomeMovement Day celebration is to call on the public to show appreciation for the work of those working in the emergency services, from police and firefighters to ambulance workers.

The Awesome Movement – formed in 2018 by a member of the public who was concerned by poor treatment of emergency services staff – distributed coffee, doughnuts and sandwich vouchers at the LAS HQ in Waterloo Road, before a London-wide tour of hospitals, police and fire stations.

During the day, the campaign encouraged the public to add their support by taking selfies and using the hashtag #AwesomeMovement.

Meanwhile, other activity included a blog post from LAS chief executive Garrett Emmerson, 18 tweets, two Facebook posts and nine Instagram posts.

Coverage on the day extended across the Evening Standard, BBC Breakfast and ITV London, among other major London media outlets, while the story was the top item on BBC London’s lunchtime and evening news bulletins.

The social-media response included 15,387 engagements on Twitter and more than 6,000 on Instagram.

Internal comms included a staff Facebook forum to identify staff who had experienced abuse to act as media case studies, while LAS used its internal channels to invite all employees to be part of the day of celebration, and reiterate the message that it is determined to reduce verbal and physical abuse of staff.

LAS media and campaigns manager Sam Matthews, who led the campaign with his job-share counterpart Caroline Watson, said: "At its heart, the message of the Awesome Movement is simple: people working in the emergency services deserve gratitude and respect.

"When the founder of Awesome told us their plans, we thought it was a fantastic communications opportunity. Physical and verbal assaults are consistently high.

"We invited the founder to Waterloo Road HQ so our staff could get a genuine 'thank you', and stood alongside our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police Service and London Fire Brigade to send the strong message that abuse is not 'part of the job'."

The campaign coincided with the release of figures showing the scale of verbal and physical violence directed at emergency service staff.

In the year to that point, 346 physical attacks had been recorded against ambulance crews in the capital – about 10 a week.

There were 499 cases of threats and verbal abuse aimed at medics and 999- and 111-call handlers over the same period, although staff surveys suggest these figures underestimate the full scale of the problem due to under-reporting.

Over the past 12 months, the Metropolitan Police has recorded 5,606 assaults on officers, while last year 91 attacks on London Fire Brigade workers were reported.

LAS is developing a broader campaign on the issue of verbal and physical abuse of staff over the autumn.


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