Blackburn BID in national spotlight after ‘saving Christmas from Covid’

Blackburn BID is celebrating after its ‘We Saved Christmas from Covid’ campaign was among the finalists at a national awards ceremony in London.

In July, Blackburn BID won the North West PRCA Dare Awards Public Sector Award for the campaign – which saw Blackburn Town Hall wrapped in a spectacular digital display of light and sound, appealing to, and engaging with, a wide and diverse audience. It offered families a Covid-safe attraction when visiting the town, receiving huge online engagement.

The campaign started in November with an Armistice Day projection running for 2 weeks, followed by a show throughout December that brought the specially commissioned Believe In the Magic of Blackburn Town Centre book (written by Christina Gabbitas) to life.  Also running through December was a virtual Blackburn Festival of Light, which featured members of the community dancing, playing music and showcasing their own light creations, alongside footage from previous Festivals.

As a result, the BID was entered into the ‘champion of champions’ event – The PRCA Dare Grand Prix, held at the Grand Sheraton Hotel in London on Tuesday 12 October.

The evening saw Blackburn BID’s campaign go up against entries from Scotland, Essex and the North East for the title of Public Sector Award. Sadly, they were pipped to the post by Visit Essex – but were delighted to raise the profile of Blackburn and its creative approach to a safe festive event.

Catherine Price, Blackburn town centre BID Manager, said: “The ‘Believe in the Magic of Blackburn Town Centre’ programme – originally planned pre-Covid – was reimagined with a goal of bringing together communities, even when that wasn’t physically possible.

“We wanted people to have a positive experience, learning more about Blackburn and its heritage, developing a real sense of place, and recognising its rich culture – past and present!

“Previously agreed plans had to be completely replaced with a dynamic schedule that could flex with the latest government guidance and restrictions.

“We are delighted with the results, and we are thrilled to have been recognised for our out-of-the box thinking.”

In September, the campaign also won Silver in the Public Sector category of the CIPR Pride awards, and was a finalist in the event/launch of the year category.

Catherine added: “We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in the campaign and we look forward to a bigger, brighter and even more magical 2021 programme of events.”

©2021 Blackburn BID

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