The Yorkshire Post’s Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign has been shortlisted alongside the best newspaper campaigns of the year for making a difference to its local community.
As part of Local Newspaper Week, which starts today, the public are being asked to vote for the best local or regional newspaper campaign of the last 12 months.
Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic, which launched in February 2014, won the award last year and is once again in the running.
The campaign has two main aims, for loneliness to be universally recognised as a health priority in our communities and to encourage our readers to volunteer for support services.
It has received a wealth of support from politicians, charities and the public, as well as prompting change in seven of the region’s local authorities.
Earlier this year Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic won the best media campaign award at the Change Opinion Awards, and was honoured by The Yorkshire Post’s publisher, Johnston Press, for Campaign of the Year at its annual awards. Lead campaign reporter Lindsay Pantry was long-listed for The Orwell Prize Exposing Social Evils award in March and last November the campaign was short listed at The Older People in the Media Awards.
Miss Pantry said: “We were thrilled to accept the Making a Difference award last year. It was especially important to us as it was voted for by the public, and was recognition of the importance of shining a light on an issue which has a devastating effect on so many people in our communities.
“Since winning the award a year ago, we have continued campaigning, seeing more local authorities pledge to take action, placing the spotlight on vital services that need our readers’ support and helping to set up a Friendship Lunch to directly help those who may be lonely or socially isolated. To win the award again would be testament to the commitment and passion we feel about the issue.”
The Making a Difference award has been backed by high profile figures including television star Deborah Meaden, co-host of The One Show Alex Jones, Hollywood actor Michael Sheen and radio presenter Nick Ferrari.
Thirty-seven of the best local press campaigns from across the UK have been showcased on the Local Newspaper Week website demonstrating the power of local papers to make life better for people in communities. Voting is now open on the Local Newspaper Week website and closes at 5pm on Wednesday, with the winner announced by News Media Association (NMA) chairman Adrian Jeakings at the Society of Editors Regional Press Awards on Friday.
Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic is also in the running for the Campaign of the Year awards at the Regional Press Awards this week.
Lynne Anderson, NMA deputy chief executive, said: “Through their campaigning multimedia journalism, local newspapers can make a real and lasting difference to the communities they serve. They provide a voice for those who struggle to be heard and shine a light on issues that would otherwise remain hidden.
“This year’s Local Newspaper Week, celebrates this all-important work which, in today’s digital age, is proving more powerful and effective than ever. It is also an opportunity for the public to have their say on which local paper should be crowned the Making a Difference champion.”