On our own two feet
Action for Children
Helen Dunne is the editor of CorpComms Magazine, follow her tweets here @CorpCommsMag
The 'On our own two feet' initiative to establish a system of savings accounts for children in care impressed the judges with its groundbreaking mix of political lobbying, traditional media relations and online campaigning.
But, perhaps more importantly, the £3,000 campaign directly led to the government's commitment to invest £16.75 million up to 2015 to ensure that every child in care for more than a year has a Junior ISA opened on their behalf. More than 55,000 children and young people will benefit in the first year.
The campaign adopted a two-pronged strategy. In partnership with Barnardo's, Action for Children embarked on a series of meetings with politicians, Treasury ministers and special advisers in order to put the issue on the Treasury's agenda. Two Prime Minister's Questions and several Treasury Questions asked about the campaign.
MPs were sent an online toolkit, including pre-filled tweets, Facebook status updates, press releases and a template letter to Chancellor George Osborne to assist them in lending support. But the charity also launched an intensive public campaign involving young people leaving care.
They participated in a panel debate at the parliamentary launch event, and promoted the campaign via Twitter and Facebook, where a virtual lobby was created to coincide with the real lobby within Parliament. YouTube videos and QR codes were also used to spread the word.
Care leavers contacted their local MPs inviting them to the parliamentary lobby, and presented a giant letter signed by politicians to the Treasury and an 'On our own two feet' report hand to 11 Downing Street.
Celebrities with experience of the care system, such as former Olympic athlete Kriss Akabusi and actress Shirley Anne Field, were approached to provide quotes in support of the campaign while other organisations in the sector were asked to provide backing; 12 did so.
The campaign received cross party support, while almost 1,300 people emailed their MPs - 64 per cent of whom had never previously been involved in Action for Children campaigns - which meant 78 per cent of all MPs were contacted by constituents. Of those who viewed the campaign online, 39 per cent took action.
'This was an incredibly creative campaign,' said the judges. 'It took advantage of every platform possible, and proved successful.'
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