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Issue 27

Highlights PR is a successful PR agency run by Keith Newman. Uniquely, their office is a boat based on the River Tyne.

Steph Eduesi, CEO of Healthwatch Newcastle and Healthwatch Gateshead tells us why they use Highlights PR. “We’ve been working with Highlights PR since 2015 and we’ve seen our media profile grow year on year. “At Healthwatch Newcastle (HWN) and Healthwatch Gateshead (HWG), we cover all publicly-funded health and social care services for both adults and children. We work hard to champion the rights of those using the social care and health systems in our areas and secondly, we act as a watchdog to ensure that social care and health systems correctly engage with the public. “We collect feedback on services from people of all ages and from all communities through a network of voluntary and community sector organisations; during events, drop-in sessions and at listening events.

We then collate that information and make recommendations to health authorities and other professional bodies. It’s vital that we engage with the public and that they know who we are and where to find us for help. That’s why we value PR and the benefits it brings us. “We’ve worked with Keith since 2015 and we’ve had a number of radio and TV appearances as well as around 20 articles in the local newspapers. We’ve a high media profile with an average of one in four people on Tyneside having had the chance to read about us and our work in the community. “In June this year, HWG needed to engage with the public in the search for new committee members and a chair person.

Keith explained to us that a normal press release wouldn’t attract the media’s attention so he suggested something a bit more radical and fun. “The result was a video in which our team wrote alternative words to the famous Blaydon Races song in a very tongue in cheek way. Our team dressed up as medical staff and sang about recruiting new volunteers and it worked. “We were delighted with the amount of hits it received on social media and we also appeared on BBC Newcastle too where the song was played. “Keith always comes up with great ideas to capture the media’s attention and the whole process is very easy for us from start to finish. He has certainly highlighted the work of both Healthwatch Newcastle and Healthwatch Gateshead.

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