COVID-19 communications, engagement and marketing programme support
In September 2020 Stand provided Northumberland County Council (NCC) with a communications and engagement strategy, report and toolkits in support of the COVID-19 prevention and outbreak control plan.
NCC approached us soon after to request further support and provide capacity to the communications, engagement, marketing and public health functions for Northumberland in the delivery phase of the strategy.
We were delighted to work with NCC again and Stand were appointed to provide continued provision up to April 2022. Key achievements include:
A COVID-19 Hospitality Business Pack
Stand created and branded a Hospitality Business Pack to support the council in communicating accurate and relevant messages to the hospitality sector around keeping their staff and customers safe and following government guidance during the pandemic. Framed in phases of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, the pack featured key messages such as social distancing for employees, the importance of cleaning, details on how to help employees follow self-isolation guidance and a useful checklist for businesses to help them stay COVID safe.
Not only did Northumberland love this idea, the LA7 councils in the North East – comprising County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside, and Sunderland – wanted to be part of the project too! Stand worked with all seven local authorities and gathered information to produce a resource that was suitable for all.
The pack was produced digitally and we ensured that the highest accessibility and screen reader requirements were met so as to satisfy all seven councils. Printed copies were used by Public Protection Officers when visiting premises; the folder pack replaced previous checklists and provided a flexible tool to add to as assets were developed. In fact, we learned a lot around digital accessibility and the requirements now placed on councils through this work, so we shared our learnings with our NCC client and produced a video tutorial for them to use for future work.
The Business Pack has been published on the NCC website and can be viewed here – https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/News/2021/Apr/Business-pack-available-for-hospitality-sector.aspx
Strategic communications and practical assets for the COVID-19 Community Champions
NCC, through their community arm Northumberland Communities Together, created a network of Northumberland COVID Community Champions to support residents across the county to stay up to date with the latest advice about COVID-19.
The Champions, who are volunteers, are trusted sources in the community and can help their family, friends and their wider networks understand the latest advice and information about COVID-19, to help keep Northumberland safe and well.
To help recruit and provide guidance and content to allow champions support networks and deliver consistent messages in their own way to the public, Stand developed the COVID Community Champions brand, volunteer journey, a regular weekly Champions Briefing, WhatsApp group and web pages. Stand also helped to produce online training videos, FAQs, a ‘sharepoint’, which holds resources and links for further information and contributed to Council newsletters and Health and Wellbeing board papers.
Vaccine equity support
This emerging area became a priority for Northumberland, and Stand assisted with the plans to target vaccine hesitancy and equity groups who were not benefitting from or had barriers to the vaccine rollout e.g. individuals whose first language is not English.
Stand already works in this field NE-wide for our NHS client and we are well placed to support the work in the county as well as any required links with other areas. We have supported the needs of NCC and its NHS partners in the developing needs for this area of work, including ways we can target these groups and communities.
Claire Malone, communications business partner, Northumberland County Council, said:
“The need for reliable, accurate and engaging Covid-19 communications has been essential during the pandemic and we have certainly benefited from the expertise, dedication and tenacity of the Stand team. It’s always good to work with people who find the solutions to tricky problems and can flex to a rapidly changing need, which is what we’ve enjoyed throughout Stand’s work for us.”