A North-East housing association is celebrating after winning the top prize for ‘Best External Publication’ in a national awards final in London last night.

Byker Community Trust (BCT) housing association’s ‘Byker News’ newsletter saw off strong competition from five other companies to win the award at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Excellence Awards 2017 at a glittering awards ceremony held at The Artillery Gardens at The HAC.

BCT was one of only three companies representing the North East at the finals, which recognises the creative work that is produced within the PR industry.

The award for ‘Best External Publication’ was presented to the organisation in recognition of the quality of its tenants’ quarterly newsletter.

The newsletter, which is delivered to over 1,800 households on the iconic Grade II* listed Byker Estate, aims to raise awareness of the progress that BCT is making, advise of projects and services that the organisation is delivering on the Estate, promotes forthcoming activities and community events, encourages community engagement and participation and improves communication between tenants, stakeholders and the organisation.

The awards are the most rigorously judged in the public relations profession and the winners are carefully selected by a panel of industry experts. The publication saw off competition from large companies such as Macmillan Cancer Support, the Police Federation of England and Wales, University of Derby and Writtle University College.

This is the second award that the newsletter has been recognised for after winning gold for ‘Best Publication’ at the CIPR PRide North East Awards in December. 

Jill Haley, Chief Executive of BCT, said: “To win a national award for our newsletter communication is a truly magnificent achievement.  Winning the regional finals was a fantastic accolade, not only for BCT but also our tenants who are actively involved in the production of each edition of this newsletter and now to go on and win against such tough competition and bring this coveted national award back to the North East is incredible.

“The purpose of producing this newsletter is to keep tenants informed and updated of the progress which we are making in relation to key projects and services that we are delivering.  Engaging with tenants and getting their feedback, enables us to improve the quality of the publication with each issue.”

BCT resident and member of the tenant communications group, Marion Naughton from Bamburgh Terrace in Byker who also attended the awards final, said: “It’s wonderful that Byker Community Trust has been recognised in these national awards, especially as we were up against some very strong competition.  The purpose of the publication is to inform tenants about what is happening on the Byker Estate and it is highly regarded by tenants.

“It’s good that the organisation listens and engages with its tenants and gives us the opportunity to get involved in the production of each issue.  This award is not only a great result for Byker but also the North East.”

Byker News is produced by BCT’s external PR agency, Up North Communications based in Washington, Tyne and Wear.  To view the latest issue, please visit www.bykercommunitytrust.org  The final shortlist for the CIPR Excellence Awards 2017 is available here https://www.cipr.co.uk/content/awards-events/excellence-awards/full-shortlist

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