Widnes Vikings Celebrate NHS

Widnes Vikings Celebrate NHS widnesvikings.co.uk
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30th June 2017

Widnes Vikings celebrated the vital work delivered by the NHS at their recent victory against Leigh Centurions, which was broadcast nationally on Sky Sports. This celebration marked the highpoint of a pioneering campaign by the Vikings and NHS Halton CCG, aimed at raising awareness of how people can take pressure off the NHS when they experience injuries or illnesses.

Over 100 representatives of local NHS services across the region took centre-stage at the big game - leading the Super League teams onto the field with a guard of honour. They also took part in a half-time lap-of-honour, where they were given a hero's reception from all corners of the ground.

This celebration follows the Vikings teaming up with NHS Halton Clinical Commissioning Group to create a unique video series that creatively educates people on how to best use the NHS. By helping people know how to select the services that are appropriate to their need, the campaign aims to relieve pressures faced by key NHS services, such as Accident and Emergency departments. The video series was sponsored by Renova Developments, the Landlord of Widnes Urgent Care Centre.

The series has had a remarkable response - receiving more than 100,000 views on social media in just three weeks, gaining coverage in regional and national media, and even being given an impressive healthcare sector honour.

The campaign saw the Vikings squad take part in around 20 short features. These include members of the Vikings squad in Whiston Hospital’s A&E department encouraging viewers to ‘beat the scrum at A&E’, as well as Vikings Head Coach, Denis Betts, giving his players a team talk on the ‘playing formation’ of the Halton’s NHS services.

The campaign was showcased on BBC North West News, Sky Sports, Talk Sport, BBC Radio Five Live, and the Daily Mirror. It has also featured in a host of local radio and newspapers.

With such interest, it grabbed the attention of the healthcare sector, featuring in sector publications such as Pulse Magazine, a national publication for GP's. It has also been given the 'Pick of the Week' accolade by the  Academy of Fabulous NHS Stuff, a website that celebrates the best of NHS innovation. The Vikings and Halton CCG have been invited to the awards ceremony at the o2 Arena, London, in November.  

James Rule, CEO of Widnes Vikings, says: "The reception that the NHS staff members received at the game was phenomenal and a testament to the respect held for the National Health Service. The Vikings are very proud to work closely with NHS Halton CCG on a number of innovative projects and were delighted to have this opportunity to celebrate the vital work that they, and other NHS organisations, deliver."

"Our awareness raising campaign has delivered phenomenal results - with more than 100,000 views and coverage in a host of local, regional and national media. This is just one example of the innovation and impact that the Vikings deliver in their local community."

Dave Sweeney, Interim CEO of NHS Halton CCG, says:  "The celebration of the NHS at the fixture was an unforgettable moment for everyone who took part. We were delighted with the response and would like to thank the Vikings for giving back to the NHS workers who give so much to their local community."

He continues, "NHS Halton CCG are delighted with the video campaign. It has delivered unprecedented engagement with our messages and helped us to reach a huge amount of people. By tapping into Halton's passion for Rugby League, and making our messages relevant and interesting, the Vikings have delivered a fantastic campaign with a vital purpose."

Renova General Manager, Ian Willett, says: “As a Strategic Estates Management partner for Halton CCG, a Primary Healthcare Developer under the LIFT initiative, and Landlord of Widnes Urgent Care Centre, Renova Developments is proud to support this campaign. The Widnes Urgent Care Centre provides an excellent facility to the Widnes and wider Halton community, its development has been a remarkable success in delivering a system of health care that meets both the local health community needs, and the wider strategic aims of Community Health Partnerships and the NHS."

"Using the brand and reach of Widnes Vikings, the videos have been particularly useful in promoting the Widnes Urgent Care Centre services to Widnes Vikings' supporters, whom makeup a significant proportion of the local population. They have delivered great results in raising awareness of the facilities available.”

Widnes Vikings Celebrate NHS widnesvikings.co.uk