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Award recognition for our campaigning work to help a hospice secure the health funding it needed

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We are proud to have received a Silver Award for Best Community Engagement Campaign at the 2021 PRmoment Awards earlier this month.

This award is in recognition of our campaigning work for Ashgate Hospicecare, to help secure the hospice the increased health funding from local CCG health budgets that it needed, in order to keep providing the invaluable service it does to residents of North Derbyshire and beyond. This work has also seen us shortlisted for nine awards so far – including three PRCA Dare Awards and two prestigious Charted Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Excellence Awards – with the winners due to be announced in the coming weeks.

Helping on this campaign has shown us that it is possible, and in fact very desirable, for local and regional charities to target national media if there’s a need to get their message across and influence change. It’s not only big national charities that score with the national media – there is also a space for their cause.

We also learnt just how powerful the connection between charities and their local community can be – in Ashgate’s case, the people of North Derbyshire were more than happy to rally behind their local hospice’s cause, if it meant that the hospice and its staff would continue to be there for them when they needed it.

Ashgate’s Public Relations Manager, Cat Maddy, explains: “The COVID pandemic demonstrated all too clearly how precarious hospice funding is, as our shops closed and our fundraising events were scaled back or cancelled. As we faced a second national lockdown in November, we were estimating that the pandemic would cost us £2.4 million in lost revenue.

“During this time, we had launched an urgent public fundraising appeal and were in talks with our local NHS commissioners to secure additional funding. Without a funding commitment from our local CCG, we would be forced to make compulsory redundancies and scale back our services. 

“Harnessing the support of our local community and key stakeholders was imperative in raising the profile of the hospice and making our case for an increase in the funding we needed to safeguard crucial end-of-life care and jobs. To do this, we worked with High-Rise Communications to engage with our local and national media to tell the story of Ashgate Hospicecare and why our care and support was crucial to the local community. 

“This exposure even led to a question on hospice funding being asked in the House of Lords, after an MP heard an interview between Ashgate’s Chief Executive, Barbara-Anne Walker and Tony Livesey and Helen Skelton on BBC 5 Live Drive. The widespread media coverage, obtained with the help and support of High-Rise Communications, was crucial in securing a funding commitment from the local CCG which safeguarded end-of-life care and jobs.

“Working with the team at High-Rise is always a pleasure and their proactive approach to securing relevant media coverage is evident in the success of this campaign. I look forward to working with them on future projects.”

Being awarded a Silver PRmoment Award for a campaign that really meant a lot to us is a brilliant feeling, and we hope we can build on this success at future PR Award events this year!

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