The Yorkshire Post’s Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign has picked up a second national award in the space of a week.
The campaign beat The Guardian’s campaign to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and The Times’ investigation into systematic child abuse to win the best media campaign award at the Change Opinion Awards in London last night.
It comes less than a week after The Yorkshire Post was honoured at the internal awards of its publisher, Johnston Press, for Campaign of the Year.
Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic launched in February 2014 with 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.
In May the campaign was recognised by Newspaper Society when it won the Local Newspaper Week award for the newspaper campaign which had made the biggest difference to its community. It was also shortlisted at the Older People in the Media Awards in November.
The Change Opinion Awards celebrate the best campaigns in the fields of politics, the media, technology, advocacy, engagement and the media.
Judges praised the Loneliness campaign for dealing with the issue in a way that had not been done before. The other nominees in the category were the Daily Mail, for its Banish the Bags campaign, the Evening Standard’s London United campaign and the Gloucester Citizen’s Bedtime Reading Campaign.
The judges included The Sun’s associate editor Trevor Kavanagh, former editor of Metro Kenny Campbell, Guardian media editor Roy Greenslade, Huffington Post editor-in-chief Stephen Hull, BBC presenter Giles Dilnot and Guido Fawkes editor Paul Staines.
Mr Greenslade said: “The campaign just came out of nowhere.”
Mr Hull said: “The thing that is brilliant about this campaign is it takes an issue that was hidden in plain sight and deals with it in a way it has not been dealt with before.”
Mr Kavanagh said: “Loneliness is a growing Western problem. It is something that affects us all at points in our lives. While pinpointing a single issue this campaign deals with some of the wider issues of our society such as the breakdown of marriage and strong family ties.”
Nicola Furbisher, managing editor of The Yorkshire Post said: “To receive such an award judged against heavyweight national titles and important issues is a great honour.
“It’s gratefully-received recognition of our passion and commitment but above all, helps keep this crucial campaign in the national spotlight.”
Among the other winners last night were ASOS’s Fashion with Integrity, which won in the engagement category, while the Musmnet campaign Let Toys Be Toys won in the advocacy category.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service’s #Backoff social media campaign won in the technology category.
Political campaign of the year and the award’s overall winners was the cross-party campaign to establish an independent panel to investigate historical sex abuse claims.