Ethical PR firm ‘blew judges away’ at awards

A Harrogate PR agency run by two sisters has won one of the North’s top awards for its sector.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 6:32 pm
Harrogate social enterprise PR firm Cause UK was named PR Agency of the Year 2021 at the Prolific North Awards. Pictured (l to r): award host Hattie Pearson, managing director of Cause UK Clair Challenor-Chadwick, and Laura Maguire, client manager for YouGov, which sponsored the award.

Cause UK won PR Agency of the Year at the Prolific North Champions Awards, held in Manchester.

The awards celebrate talent across the creative and digital sector and featured major national brands including Channel 4 and Immediate Media.

Alexandra Balazs, head of operations at Prolific North, said: “This entry blew the judges away. The judges fed back that Cause UK, which supports the arts, ethical businesses, and social enterprises, doesn’t do things by halves and has done fabulously. They do commendable work and have stood up for what matters.”

Established in 2010, Cause UK was set up by Clair Challenor-Chadwick, who was joined by her journalist sister Ann in 2011. As well as specialising in representing good causes, the agency represents ethical businesses, including tech for good.

Clair Challenor-Chadwick said: “This award is a fantastic validation from our peers and the esteemed judges for all our hard work and the passion we put into that work.”

She added: “We really want to thank all our clients, creative collaborators, friends, and family for supporting us over the last 11 years. It has been particularly tough in recent months for small businesses, so to share the room with national brands was a real honour.”

Cause UK’s diverse clients include arts organisations such as Ilkley Literature Festival and the Leeds Hospitals Charity. It has provided copywriting and PR services to the north’s pioneering social investor, Key Fund, for over a decade, and represented many social enterprises. The team also promote the green agenda, with clients including Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership.

During the pandemic, the majority of Cause UK clients had to temporarily close or pivot to adapt.

Ms Challenor-Chadwick said: “We flung ourselves into work, and supported our clients, including those stepping up to the coalface of their communities. We also won new business, including medical, science and innovation projects. In 2021, we were successful in securing an Arts Council cultural recovery grant, which has helped us continue our arts offer.”

Its strength is creative, high-impact but affordable PR campaigns, working with creatives and Cause UK associates across the North, including designers, copywriters, film-makers and photographers.

Cause UK set up a social enterprise - the Veterans’ Artisan Bakery at Catterick Garrison. Since 2010, they have raised £1m for good causes.

It also delivers its own events and festivals, featuring Brian Blessed, Chris Packham, Steve Backshall and Ken Loach. The team has worked with Miriam Margolyes at their Malton Dickensian festival for many years. They will be bringing Miriam to the Royal Hall at 3pm on October 17 for an event focused on her new memoir, as well as hosting Martin Hughes-Games and Iolo Williams in a Wildlife Road Trip later that evening.

Cause UK was up against five major PR agencies, Active Profile, Brazen, Roland Dransfield, Truth PR and Viva.

Ann Chadwick, director at Cause UK, said: “Covid has highlighted the importance of a kinder, more equal and greener society. We aim to be agents of change, and to put heart and intelligence into the news agenda. Our work is proven to raise profiles, attract investment, increase footfall and ultimately boost revenue for our clients, proving that when done well, PR is the most cost-effective and high-impact marketing tool.”

A recent major campaign was launching the revived Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra (YSO) in the media. The YSO was reformed to support northern musicians hit by the pandemic, with Skipton’s Ben Crick as its new conductor.

A media launch which used film, drone footage and photography at Harewood House resulted in over 130 print stories. Coverage included The Times, Daily Telegraph and a full-page feature in the Guardian, with interviews on BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House, as well as extensive regional press and social media. The team also secured Alan Bennett as Patron of the YSO; Clair has been appointed as special adviser to the orchestra.

Despite the economic challenges that the pandemic brought to small business, Cause UK has secured new clients such as Yeadon Town Hall, The Fairwork Foundation and Nosterfield Nature Reserve.