Campaign: Scope puts disability access in the news - Public Awareness

Campaign: Free2Pee

Client: Scope

PR team: In-house

Timescale: May-December 2004

Budget: £45,000

After 1 October 2004, venues such as pubs, restaurants, swimming pools and cinemas were required by law to make reasonable physical adjustments to ensure disabled people could gain access. Disability charity Scope wanted to highlight this change in the period up to, and including, the changeover date. Its Free2Pee campaign focused on access to public toilets.

Objectives

To publicise amendments to the Disability Discrimination Act by making businesses aware that they could be penalised for failure to comply. To highlight the problems of disabled access. To drive traffic to the Free2Pee website and promote Scope's overarching aim of achieving equality for disabled people.

Strategy and Plan

The campaign launched with an event, hosted by TV presenter Matthew Wright and featuring comedian Richard Herring, at The Spitz bar in London. This was followed by targeted features and case studies for the national media and broadcast packages for TV.

Spokespeople, including Paralympic gold medallist Danny Crates and The Bill actor Luke Hamill, discussed the campaign on radio. The regional press received details of Scope's 'Big Night Out', an event urging campaigners to fill in surveys on their local leisure venues.

All media received findings from this research, showing that only 19 per cent of venues tested were fully accessible to disabled people. To engage MPs, the charity took a 'Can't Get In' stand to the three major party political conferences.

Measurement and Evaluation

Scope estimates that Free2Pee reached an audience of more than 12 million people. The story featured on programmes ranging from the BBC's Daily Politics Show and Working Lunch to Five's The Wright Stuff.

National titles, including The Times, Time Out and Eastern Eye, covered the issue, while the campaign was a big hit with regional media, including The Birmingham Post, Granada TV and BBC Radio West Midlands.

Interest from the trade and disability press included The Publican, Third Sector and Disability Now.

Results

The Free2Pee website received more than 13,000 hits, while more than 1,000 campaigners surveyed the accessibility of 1,350 venues across the UK.

Birmingham Post senior reporter Neil Connor investigated access to local leisure facilities with a Scope campaigner. 'As I went with someone who was also a wheelchair user, it gave me another angle on the story,' he says.

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