New COVID-19 campaign features real voices of Barnsley

Everybody is talking about Coronavirus, but Barnsley Council has been listening. A new campaign has launched to support the people of Barnsley to stay safe, protect others and keep Barnsley moving.

In January 2021, Barnsley Council, working with a Yorkshire-based creative behaviour change agency (Magpie), ran a series of workshops and surveys to better understand how Barnsley residents were feeling about the Coronavirus pandemic, whether they were following the guidance, and what support they needed. Over 800 residents took part and shared their thoughts on how we can tackle COVID-19 together.

The results showed that eight out of ten people surveyed in Barnsley are doing everything they can to stay safe, support and protect others. 9 out of 10 Barnsley people aged 50 and over have now had their vaccine, and most people in Barnsley are supporting the efforts to pull together and help keep Barnsley moving.

Residents from the workshop discussions explained that Barnsley is a place where people care about each other, support each other and where people are friendly. People also explained that they are pleased that other people are having the vaccine and that it makes them feel more confident and reassured as restrictions ease and things re-open.

The campaign will give the people of Barnsley a voice and feature local people, families, health workers and business owners. It will feature stories from people who live and work in Barnsley, telling their experiences of the past year and of coping through the pandemic. At the same time, it will remind people to wash hands, wear a mask, keep their distance and meet outdoors in the fresh air. It’s about encouraging people to help others by staying safe as restrictions ease.

Julia Burrows, Barnsley Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “This piece of research has been so valuable in understanding the way people feel now, a year into the pandemic. Alongside the ‘Day in the Life’ research we undertook in November, this has given us a real insight into how COVID-19 has impacted lives and how we can better support our residents to keep safe and well. I want to thank everyone who took part in this research – it really is appreciated.

“We’ve listened to what you’ve said, and our new campaign reflects what you’ve asked of us. It’s caring, supportive and reflects the true voices of Barnsley. It will provide the information you need and make it easier to keep you and your loved ones safe.

“We’re excited to share this research and a new campaign with people. Keep an eye out for some people you may recognise sharing their story across our social media channels in the coming weeks.”

Dr Gráinne Dickerson (CPsycol), Behavioural Insights Consultant at Magpie, said: "It was a great opportunity to be given the mandate from Barnsley Council to do such in depth research with the residents of Barnsley. We carried out surveys and multiple focus groups which gave us a great deal of insight into how people in Barnsley would like to be supported at this stage of the pandemic. We looked at what people are doing now to protect themselves and others, what helps people to follow the guidelines and stay safe and what stands in their way.

“The resulting campaign is a reflection of what people in Barnsley said they needed to support them. People across the UK have faced many complicated messages and instructions about how to behave over this last year. This campaign is a much needed change, being rooted in support and recognising the hard work that the people of Barnsley have put into fighting COVID-19 during this last year."

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