Campaign: Your Life In Their Hands Client: Bridgend County Borough Council PR team: In-house Timescale: December 2004-June 2005 Budget: £40,000
In 2004 in the south Wales district of the Vale of Glamorgan, a child was killed on a school bus that crashed into a tree when the driver was distracted by misbehaving passengers. Neighbouring council Bridgend County Borough wanted to educate students on the danger of distracting bus drivers.
To educate children throughout Wales about safety on school buses.
Strategy and Plan
The council's education, leisure and transport teams worked with local bus operators and the Welsh Assembly to produce a video dealing with the consequences of distracting the driver of a school bus. The story, written by a former local drama teacher, was acted by pupils in English and Welsh-language versions. Seventeen of the 22 Welsh authorities provided funding for the video, produced by Llanelli-based multimedia company Tinnopolis.
The film, 'Your Life In Their Hands', formed part of a pack that included teaching aids, a CD-ROM and card games that required players to spot distractions on a school bus journey. This reinforced the message to children that if drivers have to watch what is taking place on board the bus, they cannot keep their eyes on the road.
The team produced a launch brochure and sent releases to local press and broadcast media and the public transport trade press. The video was launched with a premiere for all the partners involved - schools, local authority representatives and media - at the Odeon cinema in Bridgend in January. The event was attended by the Welsh Assembly minister for education and lifelong learning Jane Davidson, who also arranged a screening of the film for her colleagues. The film was dedicated to the memory of Stuart Cunningham Jones, the boy whose death inspired the campaign.
Measurement and Evaluation
Coverage appeared in local and regional media, including daily broadsheet Western Mail, BBC Wales, the South Wales Echo, the Glamorgan Gazette, Bridge FM and Coach & Bus Weekly. In-house evaluation has shown all coverage to be positive.
By June, the council had sold more than 800 of the 'Your Life In Their Hands' learning packs. To date, 15 local authorities in Wales have expressed an interest in adopting the initiative in their schools, and requests for the packs have been received from as far afield as Texas.
South Wales Echo deputy head of content Louise Day says: 'The council is particularly good at advance notices and made the story easy to write.'