20 October 2005

Salvation Army and Methodist Church win Top PR Award

The Salvation Army and The Methodist Church have won a top PR award for their joint Gambling Bill campaign. The two churches have won the 2005 Third Sector Excellence Award for PR Strategy. The award was presented at a dinner for 500 charity and fundraising representatives in London.

The award was given for the joint campaign run by The Salvation Army and The Methodist church which resulted in major changes to the Gambling Bill, including reducing the number of Super- casinos from an unlimited number down to one, and the removal of fruit machines from 6,000 premises frequented by children. The campaign used a range of public affairs techniques, PR tactics and grass-roots mobilisation.

'This great award recognises the hard work put in by the whole team who work on press and public affairs and our close working relationship with our Methodist colleagues' commented Major Bill Cochrane from The Salvation Army. 'The achievements of the campaign were huge and it is very rewarding to see this recognised by our peers in the voluntary sector as well as knowing that The Salvation Army and the Methodist Church have succeeded in working to help protect children and vulnerable people. However we are still concerned that the building of a Super-casino is likely to lead to an increase in problem gambling and a range of social problems so there is still work to be done at local level and that's where Christians can play their part'.

But, says Rachel Lampard from The Methodist Church, the real winners are those whose lives will now not be blighted by gambling addiction. 'We didn't launch this campaign for our own benefit. 'We did it because we had serious concerns about parts of the Gambling Bill, and justified fears that it would lead to an increase in problem gambling. But we made our points, the Government listened and we now have a Gambling Act that is better for people than it otherwise would have been.'

Third Sector is the weekly magazine for the charity sector and this was the inaugural event for the awards.

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