VOLUNTARY CAMPAIGN: Church wins fight to keep water free

Churches and charities currently enjoy exemption from water charges, but the Scottish Government proposed to remove these exemptions from 2010.

Petition: signed by 2,300 people and groups
Petition: signed by 2,300 people and groups

Campaign: Making Waves over Water Charges
Client: Church of Scotland
PR team: Indigo
Timescale: February to May 2008
Budget: £2,000

Thus many of these organisations faced having to pay full commercial rates for water. The Church of Scotland decided to fight back.

To highlight the potential impact of levying water charges on churches and charities. To ensure the extension of water charge exemptions beyond 2010.

Strategy and plan
Indigo launched a PR and public affairs campaign to make politicians and other stakeholders aware of the implications of removing exemptions. A key aspect was to pull together bodies with a vested interest to form a campaign group. A petition was also launched - both online and in paper form - which formed a key component of the media strategy. A full debate was held in the Scottish Parliament in April.

Measurement and evaluation
The campaign generated 34 pieces of national coverage and 58 in local media.

The petition gained more than 2,300 signatures. The minister with responsibility for this issue acknowledged the campaign and noted there was a 'strong case' for retaining the exemptions. On 30 May, the Scottish Government confirmed that the exemptions would not be scrapped.

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