Rossendale Forest campaign wins regional PR award

Rossendale Borough Council has won a regional Public Sector PR award in recognition of the Rossendale Forest initiative.

The council and Viva PR were announced as the winners of the category at the PRCA DARE Awards 2022 (North West) ceremony in Manchester.

The winning Public Sector Award focused on the Rossendale Forest project and the impact it’s had in just a few short months.

Rossendale Borough Council made a pledge to plant a tree for every child in the borough over the next three years, creating Rossendale Forest.

Together with the council, Viva PR developed a campaign to drive meaningful action and recruit an army of volunteers from the local community to plant the trees, starting with the initial 6,000 saplings that needed planting in February, March and April 2022, before the end of the tree planting season.

A total of 191 ‘Pledge to Plant’ registrations were made – the initial target was 50 – 289 separate volunteers worked across 19 planting sites, and community groups signed up included Bacup Pride, Haslingden and Helmshore Civic Pride, Rossendale Civic Pride, and Incredible Edible Rossendale.

Neil Shaw, CEO of Rossendale Council, said: “The impact achieved with this imaginative and creative campaign far outweighed our expectations, both in terms of numbers and the time frame. Winning an award in recognition of this is brilliant for us as a council – it tells us we’re getting our public relations right.

“To have gained more than 160 registrations in the first three months, almost 200 overall and have nearly 300 turn up to help us at the planting sessions, is testament to the power of a well-run, engaging campaign and what can be achieved when communities pull together.”

Tony Garner, Viva’s founder and MD, said: “This award really shows that we live up to our promises – we create stories that deliver real social impact for our clients.

“As an agency, we focus on supporting core sectors that align with our purpose, values and mission — including public bodies that focus on the environment and healthcare. If our hearts are in it, we will create better work.

“The Rossendale Forest campaign encouraged so many volunteers to come forward and make a real difference in their local community, smashing our original targets. This award is a testament to them and the team at Viva for making Rossendale Forest a reality together.”