Building Support and Securing Funding for Family Resource Centres

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The 120+ Family Resource Centres (FRCs) across Ireland support families in communities experiencing poverty and disadvantage. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, their services were in high demand.

On behalf of the Family Resource Centre National Forum (FRCNF), during 2020, Alice developed and delivered a national campaign to highlight the impact of Covid-19 on the services provided by FRCs. The campaign aimed to demonstrate the essential role FRCs played in the initial pandemic response; and raise awareness amongst relevant politicians and policymakers of the need to maintain their funding.

We were tasked by the FRCNF with coming up with a creative, impactful way to meet their campaign objectives and reach their target audiences. We suggested the development and rollout of a survey of FRCs, aimed at capturing key data about their response to the Covid-19 pandemic (e.g. increase in demand for certain services; innovations introduced in response to public health restrictions, etc.).

In consultation with the FRCNF, we drafted the survey questions, administered the survey, and analysed the responses. We then collated the responses into a briefing paper, which was used as the ‘hook’ for the media relations campaign.

Key results from our work on this project included the following:

  • Survey responses were received from 75 FRCs (62% of all FRCs).
  • A comprehensive report was produced by Alice PR on the survey findings. This has subsequently been used by the FRCNF in communications and political engagement activities. It also informed ‘Our Story’, a milestone publication depicting the historical, current and potential future development of the FRC programme.
  • 90 pieces of media coverage (16 national; 74 local) were secured, with an audience reach of 7.4 million. Coverage was secured in all 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland, and all media reports reflected key campaign messages – with no negative coverage for this campaign.
  • The profile of media outlets in which coverage was secured was aligned to the target audiences. In particular, it was significant to achieve coverage in the national broadsheets, on ‘Morning Ireland’, ‘Drivetime’ and Newstalk, and in a wide range of local outlets – to ensure the campaign was well on the radar of politicians.
  • On the launch date, James Browne TD, Minister of State for Law Reform, raised the survey findings in Dáil Éireann.
  • Green Party Spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs, Patrick Costello TD, issued a press statement in response to the launch.
  • There were high levels of social media engagement, with a range of external stakeholders posting about the survey.
  • There was a peak in traction on the FRCNF social media profiles during the campaign. On the launch date, Facebook had three times as many profile views than the previous day, with campaign posts reaching 15,000 people in comparison to an average of 500.

Ultimately, following the publication of the report, there was sustained and cross-party political support for the FRC programme and high levels of political awareness about the important role played by FRCs in the Covid-19 response. Of most significance, funding for the FRC programme was actually increased in Budget 2021.

Our work on this campaign was recognised with the ‘Best Use of Media Relations’ award at the 2021 Awards for Excellence in PR.

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