Campaign: Bassetlaw urges locals to love their community

The North Nottinghamshire district of Bassetlaw is regarded by many as a pretty area in which to live and visit, but has relatively low economic productivity, higher than average crime rates, and below-average income.

Campaign I Love Bassetlaw… and Bassetlaw Loves Me
Client Bassetlaw Local Strategic Partnership
PR team Dig For Fire
Timescale February 2006-ongoing
Budget Under £10,000

The Nottinghamshire County-run Bassetlaw Local Strategic Partnership serves the two market towns of Worksop and Retford, and a network of villages, with the aim of creating jobs and organising voluntary work. It hired Dig for Fire to ‘help restore people's sense of belonging to the area'.

To improve local pride and raise the aspirations of Bassetlaw residents. To counter negative media coverage.

Strategy and Plan
A Valentine's Day-themed campaign called ‘I Love Bassetlaw… and Bassetlaw Loves Me' encouraged volunteering to boost community spirit. Dig For Fire teamed up with the Bassetlaw Community and Voluntary Service and got in touch with supermarkets, retailers, restaurants, pubs, colleges and libraries, which took part in a recruitment drive for volunteers.

The team created several quirky love-themed images. A pink loveheart image bearing the ‘I Love Bassetlaw… and Bassetlaw Loves Me' strapline was used throughout the campaign; giant Valentine's Day cards were placed in supermarkets to encourage shoppers to sign up for volunteer work; and branded menu cards and beer mats were used by restaurants and pubs.

Ilovebassetlaw complemented press events at supermarkets in Retford and Worksop. Here, representatives of the strategic partnership, and volunteers wearing branded T-shirts, acted as spokespeople. There was also an event at North Notts College, where students were recruited.

Measurement and Evaluation
Positive press coverage included Retford Times, Worksop Guardian, and Bassetlaw News. Trax Fm attended the supermarket and North Notts College press days, while BBC Radio Nottingham also carried a story.

The supermarket activity reached 20,860 people, while an estimated 10,000 restaurant diners saw the menu cards; 5,000 beer mats were distributed, reaching circa 25,000 drinkers. One hundred and fifty people have signed up as volunteers.

Retford Times editor Nick Purkiss  says: ‘You can get quite a cynical response to these kinds of things as this area isn't known as a place where people will rush forward to volunteer - I guess that shows how effective the campaign was. The PR firm kept us updated and prepped us on events; as a local paper we were a willing partner.'

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