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Header image for the current page Interim communications support for a busy community trust

Interim communications support for a busy community trust

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Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust sought support from Arden & GEM’s Communications and Engagement team to help deliver crucial strategic and operational communications activities.

By bringing together experienced and expert professionals across communications, engagement and marketing, the CSU team was able to work collaboratively and effectively with in-house teams. In delivering day-to-day internal and external communications activities as well as providing dedicated support for the COVID-19 pandemic response and the Learning Disabilities and Autism directorate.

The result was a skilled combined team which was seen as a safe pair of hands by trust colleagues and successfully delivered a professional, high-quality service.

The challenge

Seeing over 5,000 patients a day across physical, mental health and learning disability services, Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership (CWPT) NHS Trust is a busy trust needing to communicate with a large population and a staff group operating from 50 sites.

With limited in-house capacity impacting on day-to-day operational activities, Arden & GEM’s Communications and Engagement team was approached to provide interim support to CWPT in 2020. The team drew upon its communications, engagement and marketing experience, along with established relationships in the region, to deliver:

Our approach

Our full communications, engagement and marketing service delivered a wide range of core functions and projects over a two-year period.

Internal communications
Working closely with the trust’s corporate communications, leadership and engagement teams, we delivered a range of key initiatives for staff including a new intranet and regular (three times a week) newsletter.

This covered collating, writing, editing and circulating content to keep staff informed of organisational developments, national policy changes, and health and wellbeing support during a challenging period for the health service.

External communications
Strategic and operational external communications support was provided to the trust, including:

This support helped to raise the profile of the trust within the local community, dramatically increasing the reach of social, print and broadcast media.

“Providing trusted advice on challenging and complex situations.” – Client feedback

Pandemic response
As well developing and implementing the staff communications strategy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we were also responsible for vaccination programme communications. As the lead organisation for the COVID-19 vaccination programme across Coventry and Warwickshire, CWPT needed to work collaboratively with other ICS partners and the NHS England, Midlands region to launch mass vaccination centres, services for the housebound and specialist clinics e.g. for school aged children. For our team this included producing a variety of promotional materials, managing media activity such as press releases and interviews, and making reliable information available to the public via websites and social media.

"Arden & GEM’s account lead has been a key part of the trust’s COVID-19 response with clear, concise and regular communications with the Strategic Incident Management Team and its support functions. She is very proactive and trustworthy, you could rely on her support no matter how big, small or time consuming the query may be."

Ben Cockerill, Head of Emergency Planning at CWPT

Dedicated directorate support
One area in which the trust identified a need for further dedicated support was the Learning Disabilities and Autism (LDA) directorate.

As part of its transformation programme, CWPT had renovated areas and opened new units at its purpose-built inpatient facility for adults and children living with a learning disability, Brooklands Hospital. As well as producing materials for patients, families and stakeholders, our team also ran recruitment campaigns which attracted 40 new healthcare assistants to help deliver LDA services.

“Instrumental in delivering a huge volume of high-quality projects.” – Client feedback

The outcomes

Over a two-year period, Arden & GEM provided a full communications, engagement and marketing service to work alongside in-house corporate and clinical teams at CWPT. The service brought together experienced and capable strategic account leads with communications and media expertise to deliver a trusted, knowledgeable and responsive resource.

By delivering a professional and high-quality service, focused on supporting the trust’s priorities and strategic aims, we have helped to raise the internal profile of the communications team. This has enabled CWPT to build the foundations of its new in-house communications team with a smooth handover taking place.