EVERTON in the Community’s ‘Proud to be Blue’ campaign was presented with the Communications Award at last week’s prestigious Better Society Awards in London. The charity’s ‘Proud to Be Blue’ campaign, which told the personal stories of individuals who have been supported by EitC, was recognised by a panel of judges for its work in telling the tale of the charity in an engaging and impactful manner. ‘Proud to be Blue’ kicked off the 2015/16 season and the six week focus into the work of Everton in the Community gave Blues an opportunity to hear first-hand from a variety of people who all openly attribute the Club’s official charity with turning their lives around and helping them deal with problems in their lives through a range of very diverse programmes. Fans heard from Lee Johnson who spent 18 years of his life sleeping rough on the streets of Liverpool and thanks to the help and support of EitC, now works part-time for the charity helping those overcome the same issues he experienced. ‘Proud to be Blue’ also introduced us to Tommy Dunne, a participant from Everton in the Community’s innovative ‘Pass on the Memories’ programme. After being diagnosed with early onset dementia at the age of 57, Tommy began attending weekly sessions at Goodison Park and has now become a positive role model in raising dementia awareness around the country and volunteers for the charity. The largely digital campaign was delivered through social media and the use of regular emails to fans registered to receive Everton in the Community communications. The six ‘Proud to be Blue’ videos resulted in over 180,000 video views, thousands of likes, shares and retweets on both Facebook and Twitter and the followers increased by almost 100% on the recently launched @EitC Twitter account. Research carried out by the Club’s Insight team with a body of fans following the ‘Proud to be Blue’ campaign found that 97% said that the campaign made them proud to support Everton whilst 68% said it has encouraged them to learn more about Everton in the Community. After receiving the award, Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Everton in the Community CEO, said: “I am thrilled that the work of Everton in the Community has, once again, been recognised on a national stage. We are so proud of our ‘Proud to be Blue’ campaign and being able to share with Evertonians the personal stories of individuals who we have supported through the charity has been an honour and hopefully educated even more people on our life-changing work throughout Merseyside. “The real beauty of the campaign, and something I feel that contributed to the success of ‘Proud to be Blue’, is that these six extraordinary people are real Evertonians who have proudly told their tale of how Everton in the Community makes a real difference to real people’s lives.” Everton in the Community were the only footballing charity to be shortlisted in the Better Society Awards and was also recognised on the night as a finalist in the ‘National Commitment to the Community’ category whilst Everton Free School was shortlisted for the ‘Innovation Award’. Organised by the Better Society Network (www.bettersociety.net) and now in its second successful year, the Better Society Awards reach out beyond the horizons of any one sector to assess and reward those who are helping create a better, more equal, ethical and sustainable world from the corporate perspective.