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See the eight Northern newspaper campaigns to have made a difference


Local Newspaper Week is an annual campaign designed to celebrate the role played by local papers.

This year the theme of the week – which takes place from May 11 to 17 – is Making a Difference, and will showcase the best campaigning work of local papers across the UK.

During the week, an online vote will be held in which the public will be invited to vote for their favourite campaign.

A total of 37 campaigns have been shortlisted – here are all the Northern-based titles involved:

Bolton News

Campaign: Let’s Get Back On Track
Objective: To ease congestion on commuter services between Manchester and Bolton.

Result: Readers signed a petition, also backed by MPs, and the paper delivered more than 4,000 signatures to No 10 Downing Street in February 2014.

By April, Prime Minister David Cameron visited The Bolton News and vowed to deliver 200 extra seats in rush hour. The paper will keep up the pressure on No 10 Downing Street until the extra carriages are delivered.

Evening Gazette

Campaign: Let’s Grow


Objective: To boost effectively businesses in the North East by distributing funds from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Result: Let’s Grow secured an initial £30m and the paper worked with the Business and Enterprise Group and UNW to distribute this to more than 60 firms of varying size.

The money has created or safeguarded 3,000 jobs with an average salary of more than £30,000 – exceeding the target set by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills – and helped the companies access a further £180 million of matched funding.

BIS has allocated a further £30 million to continue the work of the Let’s Grow campaign.

Harrogate Advertiser

Campaign: Donor Register

Objective: Called on people to sign up to the organ donor

Result: A moving campaign featuring the poignant stories of local families, the campaign saw 1,582 signing up to the organ donor register in Harrogate over just nine months.

The campaign focused on the stories of families in the local area. Dozens of businesses came forward to support one Harrogate toddler after her story was featured in the Advertiser, helping her family raise more than £20,000.

The organ donor campaign was hailed as ‘life-saving’, receiving backing from the district’s MP, NHS Blood and Transplant, and thanks from the doctors at the district hospital.

Manchester Evening News

Campaign: Greengate Memorial

Objective: To restore the Greengate Memorial.

Result: Reader Cassie-Ann Creely’s research on her family tree discovered the neglect of the Greengate Memorial. She appealed to Salford Council for the memorial which included the names of her two uncles, to be restored.

The paper tracked down the memorial, now broken in a council yard. A meeting was arranged between Cassie, Salford MP, Hazel Blears, and the council to discuss a site for a replacement.

Millionaire bookmaker, Fred Done, read one of the articles about the Greengate Memorial and contacted the MEN to give money needed for a replacement.

The council offered a piece of land, and a stonemason has been contacted with a view to carving a replacement.

Manchester Evening News

Campaign: Manchester Dogs Home


Objective: To raise funds for the Manchester Dogs Home as a fire broke out in the facility.

Result: On the evening the fire broke out, the paper published video updates, user generated content, official reaction, and a constant flow of information which generated huge audiences.

On the same night, the paper set up a page after people in Manchester asked how they could help and in less than 24 hours more than £1 million had been raised.

The campaign went on to raise £1.7 million for the charity, recording more than 8.5 million page impressions.

News & Star, Carlisle

Campaign: Keep Our Streets Free


Objective: To stop parking charges being introduced in Cumbria’s high streets

Result: Responding to concerns from businesses, shoppers and residents in Carlisle, the paper challenged Cumbria County Council to find alternative ways of raising revenue, after it emerged parking charges were to be imposed in almost all the county’s high streets – threatening fragile post-recession growth.

Protesters took to the streets with banners. They lobbied and heckled at council meetings. MPs backed the campaign. Thousands signed petitions supporting the campaign. District councils agreed with the paper, against the stance of the county authority.

In November 2014, Cumbria County Council announced its climbdown. Plans to impose charges in town centres and for residents parking outside their homes had raised worries about their legality, the authority said.

Sunderland Echo

Campaign: Hold Fire

Objective: To save Sunderland Central Fire Station from closure.

Result: There had been a station in the city centre for more than 100 years, but the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority were proposing to cover with a station outside the area.

The Sunderland Echo launched the Hold Fire campaign with a front page story and an in-paper and online petition opposing the closure. The campaign was backed by MPs and the Fire Brigades Union.In the end a combined total of 34,000 signatures were collected.

The petition was handed in to a meeting of the Fire Brigade Authority in February 2015 and the authority reversed its decision. Sunderland Central Fire station was saved.

The Yorkshire Post

Campaign: Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic

Objective: The campaign has two main aims – for loneliness to be universally recognised as a health priority and to encourage our readers to volunteer for support services.

Result: Since winning the inaugural Making a Difference award in May, the campaign has received recognition from the Older People In The Media Awards. .

Seven of Yorkshire’s health and wellbeing boards have now added a significant mention of loneliness and social isolation to their overarching strategies and the campaign has been backed by charities and politicians including Prime Minister David Cameron.

Events have included a summit for experts in loneliness and a lunch for people to make new friends.

Leeds Council credited the campaign for highlighting the issue in its winning bid for £6 million of lottery funding in September. The paper also launched an online audio archive of real people telling their experiences of loneliness.

You can see the full list of shortlisted campaigns here.

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