THE communications team at the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has won double gold at the regional awards for the public relations (PR) industry.

It scooped the top prize in two categories - "outstanding in-house public relations team" and "public sector campaign" - beating off competition from high profile rivals, including Electricity North West, M&S Bank, Manchester Airport, and silver award winners Essity.

Recognised for its “impressive communications service”, the judges’ comments reflected on the team’s hard work and the many different aspects of communications they successfully manage and undertake on a day-to-day basis, including press office and an out of hours service, internal and external communications, public affairs, stakeholder and community engagement, FOI, videography, social, digital and campaigns.

Judges said: “NWAS has achieved results out of proportion to the resources available to it. From providing frontline access for major broadcasters to crisis communications, the team has successfully managed the full spectrum of public sector public relations with skill and professionalism.”

Volunteer car driver recruitment campaign, Star in a Car, was also awarded the gold prize in the public sector campaign category.

Using animations, case studies and social media to drum up interest in the volunteer roles, the judges commented how they were “impressed by how NWAS reached out beyond its traditional supporters, using innovative social media channels to really engage a younger audience with the work this essential public service delivers.

They went on: “With limited resources, this campaign achieved great results with 50 new volunteers joining the service. Overall, this was an excellent campaign, fully deserving of success.”

The CIPR PRide Awards is the UK’s most prestigious nationwide awards scheme, recognising excellence in public relations and communications. This year, the PRide Awards attracted around 1,000 entries from public relations teams, consultancies and individuals across the UK.

Julie Treharne, head of communications and engagement at NWAS, said: “It’s fantastic to be recognised by industry experts at the CIPR awards and to beat off competition from private sector teams with bigger budgets. We’re honoured to fly the flag for NHS communicators.

“The team supports all the services the trust provides from our 999 emergency response, to patient transport, NHS 111 and corporate projects. It’s our aim is to bring to life our organisation’s vision and values through compelling narrative that connects with our wide variety of stakeholders.

“We try to put patients at the heart of everything we do to enhance their experience with the organisation and make meaningful connections with our front line services; doing so using our creativity and innovative approaches whilst using money responsibly. To be labelled ‘outstanding’ for this is a something we’re incredibly proud of.”