How to promote the service
Establishing a service for students can be a lengthy process and it takes time for staff to build a trusting relationship with them. Time needs to be allowed for numbers to increase and the ‘drop-in’ to be established. Experience has shown it to take up to a year for ‘drop-ins’ to become embedded.
Word of mouth by students is by far the most effective and efficient advertising of a ‘drop-in’. If students have had a positive experience of using the service they will pass this feedback onto others.
Within the county, Wiltshire has called the service ‘Multi-Agency Health and Wellbeing ‘Drop-ins’ for Young People’. Each school may choose to have its own name for the service that appeals to young people. Schools may wish to tap into the imagination of young people to decide this - in many cases, they have suggested excellent names.
Examples of branding
The Link The John of Gaunt School, Trowbridge
H2H St Laurence School, Bradford-on-Avon
Ways of publicising the ‘drop-in’
The school may decide to produce posters and leaflets to promote the service. There are templates and examples available to use. Schools may also include details on their school website, via email bulletins, during PSHEE lessons and Sparksite. Schools could also encourage young people to share their ideas around promotion and service design to meet their needs.
It is possible to build visits to the ‘drop-in’ into the induction for Year 7 pupils. Even before Year 7, prospective students from Year 6 can visit the ‘drop-in’ as part of their transition visits.
Contacting the media
Your school may have protocols and procedures for contacting the press that you will follow. You may choose to approach the press with details of your ‘drop-in’ that allows it to be presented in a positive way. If you are providing a press release you might find it useful to refer to the following tips.
Preparing press releases
News desks get hundreds of press releases every day. To improve your chances of having yours used, try these tips:
- Include the five Ws – who, what, when, where, why (and maybe how)
- Keep it very short and punchy – not more than one side of A4. Journalists will ask if they need more information. Give it a title, so that it’s clear what the story is about eg ‘Secondary school provides pupils with new health ‘drop-in’ service’.
- Include a quote from a senior person who could also be a spokesperson and give their title; examples include the director of children’s services or a local MP.
- Always put a contact name and phone number/mobile at the end of release.
- Use straightforward, jargon-free language eg you can replace ‘accessing services’ with ‘getting help and advice from experts’.
- Put the press release in the body of an email – it’s less likely to end up in the spam box than if you send it as attachment.
- Send it to the ‘target’ media (local newspaper, radio stations, news websites, council newsletter)
- Include the views of young people – either as a statistic from a survey or as quotes from local young people, but keep quotes anonymous, especially if young people are under 16.
- Build on existing links with local press – tell journalists who have covered sexual health topics well in the past about the story in advance.