Over the past few months, the press team have been focusing on National Epilepsy Week 2009.
So far, we have achieved well over 100 pieces of press coverage, including 20 radio interviews, 80 pieces of regional coverage, three TV mentions and 18 online cuttings.
In Northern Ireland, our branches helped us achieve at least seven pieces of print coverage, including pieces in the Londonderry Sentinel, the Tyrone Constitution, the Roe Valley Sentinel and the Ulster Gazette & Armagh Standard. Morina Clarke, regional services manager for Northern Ireland, was also interviewed for BBC Radio Ulster's breakfast show.
In Wales, we achieved coverage in the South Wales Echo, the North Wales Weekly News, the Rhyl Journal and the Llanelli Star. Epilepsy was also featured on 'Wales This Week', a news programme on ITV Wales, during the week. Ann Sivapatham, regional services manager for Wales, and some of our branch members in Wales were interviewed for the show. The slot lasted around 15 minutes.
We achieved UK-wide press coverage in the Daily Mirror, with a double-page spread in the health section. The piece featured one of our media volunteers, who talked about her experiences of epilepsy, and discussed the state of current epilepsy services in England. We also worked with BBC Look East to put together a TV package for their breakfast show. The piece looked at epilepsy services in the region and featured two of our media volunteers.
We secured at least 65 pieces of regional press coverage in England. We issued a letter to editor, encouraging people to get in touch if they had experienced poor epilepsy services. This was published in around 40 newspapers, and we received about two dozen calls as a result of it. A couple of callers even made it to the parliament lobby, which was a great result. We also achieved another 25 pieces of regional coverage about our branches, media volunteers, fundraising activities and the parliament lobby. Newspapers covering our activities included: the Lancashire Evening Post, the Scarborough Evening News the Brighton Argus, the Borehamwood & Elstree Times and the Crewe & Nantwich Guardian.
As for radio, we were lucky enough to enlist the support of William Fiennes, author of 'The Music Room'. The novel tells the story of William's childhood, growing up with his brother, who had epilepsy. William offered his support in promoting National Epilepsy Week and was involved in several radio interviews.
We arranged a 'radio day' on the Tuesday of the week, with the help of a communications company. We secured 13 interviews across all the UK nations, with Aimee Bowen, PR and campaigns manager, and William Fiennes acting as spokespeople. Radio stations included: BBC Cornwall, BBC North Yorkshire, Essex FM, BBC Radio Foyle, The Pulse and BBC Sussex & Surrey.
We also did a couple of interviews for Swansea Sound and BBC Radio Northamptonshire. BBC Radio Wales did a live studio interview with Ann Sivapatham and BBC Radio Cymru interviewed one of our Welsh-speaking media volunteers.
We would like to say thank you to all the branch members and media volunteers who helped us during National Epilepsy Week. We were able to raise awareness of epilepsy and secure some great interviews and press coverage as a result of your support.