KentAir is an organisation that provides the general public with information about air pollution levels in Kent and Medway. Keen to create inspiring learning resources to be shared with the local community, several local authorities within Kent and Medway received funding from DEFRA’s (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) Air Quality Grant to develop a platform, educating children on air pollution and its effect on people’s health.
Air pollution results from the introduction of a range of substances into the atmosphere from a wide variety of sources. It can cause both short term and long term effects on health, and has impacts on the wider environment. Despite the improvements made, air pollution is still recognised as a risk to health, and many people are concerned about pollution in the air that they breathe.
An analysis by the Central Office of Public Interest (COPI) from April 2022 revealed that 97% of UK homes are subject to air pollution levels above the World Health Organisation guidelines, highlighting the critical need to educate all generations about air pollution.
From the initial brief, KentAir’s ‘Pollution Patrol’ was developed to raise awareness of the causes and harmful effects of air pollution through fun, engaging and practical strategies that:
- Support schools and teachers in promoting less polluting travel behaviour.
- Educates and empowers children to act as advocates and ambassadors for reducing air pollution in school and at home.
- Provides a framework for discussion between children and their families to talk about air quality and health.
The new children-focused, engaging website was bought to life with an immersive animated story where children are invited to explore fictional ‘Sooting Town’, with learning resources identifying where air pollution comes from, what it is made up of, how it can affect our health and ways to reduce it in and around schools and at home.
The website also houses branded activity plans, a teachers’ resources guide, an assembly plan and playscript to aid teachers in introducing the theme of air pollution and air quality, within their learning resources, across all target demographics (students, teachers and parents/carers). Using the detailed characters and digital assets from the animation, further games, quizzes, collectable badges and other materials were created.
The website, pollutionpatrol.org.uk, was launched in 2022, forming the first exciting PR opportunity to coincide with the launch of Kent Air Week. This inaugural annual event set to celebrate the initiatives that the local authorities in Kent and Medway are introducing to improve the local air quality.
Reach & Visibility
To ensure the new animated environment gained the visibility aspired to by the client, the TMC marketing team developed a comprehensive communications plan and messaging matrix, providing rich editorial content, social media, traditional and electronic direct mail for schools, and internal communication pieces to be used within the local authorities, all of which could support the launch and future promotional activities of the Pollution Patrol learning resources.
As a supplement to the launch of the ‘Pollution Patrol’, TMC were further commissioned to develop a similar social media communications plan to promote the entirety of Kent Air Week. This week-long awareness campaign was shared by local authorities in Kent and Medway to gain as much exposure as possible of the great air quality initiatives that the local authorities offer.
“It was fantastic to see the project, which we have been working on for the last 18 months, finally come to fruition. For the last 12 months we have had the great pleasure of working with TMC Strategic Communications.
We’ve had a huge amount of incredibly positive feedback from this morning’s launch, from colleagues, senior managers and perhaps most importantly from DEFRA themselves.
Alannah and Racheal have been fabulous companions to have on our journey, and never failed to make our regular meetings fun as well as productive. However, we are aware that many other talented colleagues from TMC have played an important role behind the scenes in getting us to where we are, and to making this morning’s launch such a fantastic success.”
– Kelly Haynes, Principal Policy Officer at Canterbury City Council and Dr Stuart Maxwell, Senior Scientific Officer at MidKent Council.
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