2006: Connecting reputation and organisational success

  • Winner: Communications, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust
  • Runner up: Communications, Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Trust

Winning project: 'Building local support'.

This communications campaign was aimed at winning public support for Oxleas to become one of the country's first mental health foundation trusts. The communications team identified target groups, agreed key messages and worked through user involvement groups to promote understanding.

Overall, the aim was to encourage better understanding of mental health, encourage local support, create a membership representative of the local community and create an active membership.

The success of this campaign can be measured in large part by the favourable response of local people to Oxleas becoming a foundation trust; the number of people taking part in elections (46 candidates stood for election to 12 places) and by the membership uptake (1,728 by December 2005, not including staff.)

The communications work was very instrumental in the Trust's success in becoming a foundation trust.

Judge: Professor Anne Gregory, Leeds Business School

Judge's Comment: Obtaining community support for mental health is notoriously difficult and Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust are to be congratulated on getting the results they did - communications clearly played a critical role.

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