Salvation Army and Methodist Church win Top PR Award

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

The award was given for the joint campaign run by The SalvationArmy and The Methodist church which resulted in major changes tothe Gambling Bill, including reducing the number of Super- casinosfrom an unlimited number down to one, and the removal of fruitmachines from 6,000 premises frequented by children. The campaignused a range of public affairs techniques, PR tactics andgrass-roots mobilisation.

'This great award recognises the hard work put in by the whole teamwho work on press and public affairs and our close workingrelationship with our Methodist colleagues' commented Major BillCochrane from The Salvation Army. 'The achievements of the campaignwere huge and it is very rewarding to see this recognised by ourpeers in the voluntary sector as well as knowing that The SalvationArmy and the Methodist Church have succeeded in working to helpprotect children and vulnerable people. However we are stillconcerned that the building of a Super-casino is likely to lead toan increase in problem gambling and a range of social problems sothere is still work to be done at local level and that's whereChristians can play their part'.

But, says Rachel Lampard from The Methodist Church, the realwinners are those whose lives will now not be blighted by gamblingaddiction. 'We didn't launch this campaign for our own benefit. 'Wedid it because we had serious concerns about parts of the GamblingBill, and justified fears that it would lead to an increase inproblem gambling. But we made our points, the Government listenedand we now have a Gambling Act that is better for people than itotherwise would have been.'

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