Specialist infrastructure communications consultancy, Copper has been shortlisted for a national PR award for its ‘Beauty is in the eye of the gasholder’ campaign, developed on behalf of National Grid Property (NGP).

Organised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, the Excellence Awards recognise outstanding professional achievement and celebrate best practice in public relations and communications. This year, the Awards have attracted more than 550 entries from agencies, in-house teams and individuals from across the UK. Copper is one of six entrants shortlisted in the inaugural Construction, Property or Infrastructure Campaign category.

As part of NGP’s national strategy to remediate and release land for reuse, Copper was commissioned to design and deliver a community engagement programme centred around the dismantling of one of its gasholders in the centre of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Its aim was to encourage the community to accept change and to pave the way for much needed new development which would bring benefits for local people and the economy.

By tapping into the local community’s emotional and historical connection with the gasworks, Copper’s strategy focused on developing a narrative which celebrated memories and captured them for future generations, while encouraging the community to be excited about the next chapter in the site’s life. A heritage day was held and communications channels set up to encourage people to share their memories culminating in a booklet of written memories and stills and a film linked to a media relations campaign.

The result was a community which understood the need for the project and was willing to look to the future. The campaign was praised by the community and is now being used as an example of best practice by NGP for similar land projects.

Head of National Grid Property, Richard Alden, said: “Copper immediately grasped the importance of our heritage strategy and showed a high level of understanding of our business. They delivered a first-class, innovative campaign which turned potential objection and negativity into support and positive engagement. Copper’s excellent approach meant local people benefitted from getting together to capture their memories.”

The Excellence Award winners will be announced on Tuesday 6th June at an awards ceremony held at The Artillery Garden at the HAC, London.

The project has also been shortlisted for a National Grid Property Award and is entered in the International Building Press Communications and PR Awards.