PRWeek UK Awards Winners 2020: Coronavirus Crisis Management

This award goes to ‘Keep Britain Blooming’, by the Big Partnership for the Horticultural Trades Association.

PRWeek UK Awards Winners 2020: Coronavirus Crisis Management

The UK’s horticultural sector was facing financial devastation after the Government banned all non-essential retail in March as part of the lockdown to halt the spread of COVID-19.

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This media engagement and public affairs campaign led by the face of British gardening, Alan Titchmarsh, resulted in widespread national and international coverage – and garden centres in England and Wales becoming the first non-essential retailers to reopen when the lockdown measures were eased.

Big Partnership was tasked with generating national coverage to highlight the crisis facing the industry as well as the nation’s wellbeing, while putting pressure on the UK Government and the devolved administrations to commit to reopening garden centres during the first phase of easing lockdown restrictions.

The agency's senior staff provided strategic counsel while the team secured case studies of HTA members to put a human face on the crisis facing the industry during its key selling season, backed by Titchmarsh and a host of other celebrity gardeners.

Big Partnership worked with the HTA to develop safe trading guidance as well as robust industry data that showed the impact on jobs, businesses and the wider economy.

It used this collateral to prepare a broadcast media pack and secured a national exclusive with the BBC, as well as 200 more pieces of coverage and editorials in national newspapers.

Crucially, the UK Government and devolved administrations reopened garden centres in May, throwing a lifeline to the industry.

Judge’s comment

Measurable and strategic with a real purpose at the heart.

Highly commended

The tweet that kept Poundland trading by Arena PR, for Poundland

Arena PR built on its three-year working relationship with Poundland to help ensure that it was viewed as an essential retailer and therefore not forced to close its stores during lockdown. The tweet in question was aimed at ‘chunterers’ who questioned its 'essential' status and encouraged them to pipe down; a risky manoeuvre, but one which paid off for the retailer.


The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

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