Our crisis communications campaign helped save the ACE Centre from closure - ‘Best Not for Profit’ and ‘Best Crisis Communications’ campaign in the CIPR Awards.

Claire Malone on ITN News

Watch the footage of Claire Malone on ITN News


Our client

The ACE Centre is a charity which supports people with complex difficulties who struggle to communicate without the aid of assistive technology. The organisation provides vital support to thousands of people living in Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Bedfordshire, Devon and Guernsey.

The ACE Centre asked Livewire to carry out a reputation management and crisis communications programme to save it from closure. Our campaign was a tremendous success – we achieved just that and won ourselves two Golds at the CIPR PRide Awards in the ‘Best Not for Profit’ and ‘Best Crisis Communications’ categories.


What they wanted us to do

The ACE Centre, along with hundreds of other charities and specialist services across the UK, was facing a desperate plight due to delays in the setting up of new government funding streams. They commissioned Livewire to:

  • Save The ACE Centre from imminent closure
  • Give a voice to people who struggle to communicate
  • Raise public awareness about these government cuts and changes to funding streams.
  • Engage in dialogue with the government

How we did it

Keen to secure widespread media coverage spanning print, broadcast and online, Livewire:

  • Conducted a media audit to identify key correspondents with a specific interest in the financial plight of charities
  • Agreed key messages with the client to be incorporated into media copy
  • Identified a stunning case study to illustrate the life-changing support that the centre gave to Claire Malone. Despite battling with cerebral palsy, a condition that affects her speech and motor control, Claire has realised her full potential and is now studying Physics at Imperial College London thanks to the provision and support of appropriate technology recommended by The ACE Centre
  • Devised hard-hitting headlines for the national, regional and special educational needs media pitch
  • Researched significant facts and figures to give weight to the story
  • Identified spokespeople from The ACE Centre and its client base, and briefed them on handling media interviews
  • Asked Andrew Smith MP, Nicola Blackwood MP and John Bercow MP to make a case for the Government to provide funding for The ACE Centre

What we achieved for them

Working alongside The ACE Centre, Livewire achieved the following outstanding results in terms of media relations:

  • Audience Reached – Total Opportunities to See/Hear (OTS/OTH): 19,520,523
  • £643 worth of coverage for every £1 spent on PR
  • 45 features secured, including:
  • ITN TV and online (10,100,000 OTS)
  • BBC TV (6,960,000 OTS)
  • bbc.co.uk – BBC Parliament (400,000 OTS)
  • Heart Thames Valley (385,000 OTH)
  • BBC Radio Oxford (76,000 OTH)
  • Oxford Times.co.uk (225,960 OTS)
  • SecEd – print, newsletter, online (274,063 OTS)

The crisis communications element of the campaign helped to:

  • Amass support from thousands of clients past and present who signed an e-petition and wrote to their MP
  • Secure an opportunity at Prime Minister’s Question Time and the personal interest of Prime Minister David Cameron
  • Initiate dialogue with the Department of Education (DfE)
  • Secure vital funding from the government

Sound crisis comms advice coupled with stunning coverage on the BBC, ITN and in regional Oxford and special educational needs trade media generated by Livewire Public Relations, brought the desperate financial plight of The ACE Centre, a charity which supports people with complex difficulties who struggle to communicate, to the personal attention of Prime Minister David Cameron. Livewire’s outstanding PR services have been instrumental in securing the crucial government funding we needed to avert the centre’s imminent closure, enabling us to continue to provide vital support to thousands of people living in Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Bedfordshire, Devon and Guernsey, who are unable to communicate without the aid of assistive technology. The team at Livewire did a truly outstanding job. As a trustee I also have to fit in my day job. Without their support this brilliant outcome would not have been possible.

Bill Nimmo, Trustee, The ACE Centre

Start the journey to becoming Livewire’s next success story. Call us on +44 (0)208 339 7440 or email info@livewirepr.com

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  • PRide 2013 Gold
  • PRide 2012 Silver
  • PRide 2012 Gold