Blackburn BID recognised for saving Christmas from COVID

Blackburn Business Improvement District (BID) has won a regional Public Sector PR Award for ‘Saving Christmas from Covid’.

Blackburn BID and Viva PR were announced as the winners of the category at the PRCA DARE Awards 2021 (North West) during an online ceremony watched by the finalists.

The winning Public Sector Campaign of the Year Award focused on the Christmas Projections on Blackburn Town Hall, offering families a Covid-safe attraction when visiting the town, as well as huge online engagement.

“A memorable campaign which celebrated the community at a difficult time.” Judges 

Blackburn has been in the highest level of restrictions throughout the pandemic and when the vicious virus threatened Christmas, Blackburn BID had to come up with a new plan, quick.

Blackburn BID and Viva PR developed a dynamic feast for the eyes that would see Blackburn’s Christmas ‘re-imagined’ – and the results speak for themselves. 

This Arts Council England National Lottery Projects funded campaign saw Blackburn Town Hall wrapped in a spectacular digital display of light and sound, appealing to, and engaging with, a wide and diverse audience – which could be enjoyed safely and in line with government restrictions and guidelines.

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.

“Great execution. Amazing, stunning, uplifting activities.” Judges


“A lovely campaign showcasing the beauty of Blackburn. The projections for Remembrance Day were truly stunning.” Judges 

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.”

“Engagement/participation stats demonstrate how well received this was. An admirable effort to brighten up a covid Christmas.” Judges

The PRCA DARE Awards strive to seek out and reward the very best PR and communications professionals across the UK, decided by a panel of highly respected industry experts across eight regions. 

“A great example of how PR can produce impressive results, even during COVID! Top marks awarded for creativity, as clearly a great deal of thought went into all elements of the campaign. The team ensured it hit the objectives and achieved a high ROI.” Judges 

©2021 Blackburn BID

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