Vote for the campaign that made a difference in Harrogate

The Harrogate Advertiser’s campaign to raise awareness of the district’s hidden homeless problem has been named as one of the best in Britain.

The campaign, which highlighted the work of the Harrogate Homeless Project, has been shortlisted as one of the top 30 editorial campaigns across the UK.

The list of campaigns was unveiled as part of Local Newspaper Week which launches today. Readers can vote online for the best campaign and the winner will be announced at the Society of Editors Regional Press Awards in London on May 16.

The homelessness campaign which ran in October and November 2013 aimed to raise awareness of the issue of rough sleeping in the town, which charity workers say is often overlooked.

Andy Kirk, project leader at the Harrogate Homeless Project said: “The articles in the Harrogate Advertiser had a huge impact. There was a big response from people who had read about us in the newspaper.

“Before the campaign we had never had a referral by a member of the general public, referrals to our No Second Out Scheme had only been through agencies.”

In the months following The Harrogate Advertiser’s campaign the charity 14 people were referred to the Harrogate Homeless Project by members of the general public, where they were provided with emergency shelter and an offer of suitable, permanent accommodation.

During the same period 55 people referred themselves to the project, a 20 per cent increase, possibly as a result of public awareness of the scheme.

Mr Kirk added: “It shows the changing attitude of people and helped people realise there is a problem, because it isn’t always easy to see the problem of rough sleeping in somewhere like Harrogate.”

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