Kickstarting a campaign for change

Sparking change for disabled sports fans

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Kickstarting a campaign for change

When Changing Places provider RISE Adaptations came to us, they wanted to launch a campaign to spark much-needed change within the UK’s sports venue sector.

According to the official Changing Places map, fewer than 10 per cent of sports venues in the UK currently have a registered Changing Places Toilet, meaning disabled fans and athletes are often unable to visit or take part in sporting fixtures.

This project saw Sidekick devise and launch a hard-hitting campaign that the RISE Adaptations team could take and run with to change this issue, in the months and years to come.

The brief

Sidekick PR was given three months to devise and launch a campaign that would draw much-needed attention to the worrying statistics surrounding Changing Places Toilets (CPTs) in sports venues.


We knew from the outset that the people whose lives are affected by the lack of appropriate facilities in sports venues had to sit front and centre of our campaign.

Our strategy detailed that the campaign needed to be: ‘hard-hitting and people-led, harnessing the voices of those who have the lived experience of the lack of CPT facilities to bring the call to action to life and drive the change that’s needed.’

The campaign strategy we devised revolved around real-world experience, and, by working with RISE, we identified disabled sportsfans that were willing to get involved, creating a petition calling for change with their backing.

We built a package to pitch in to key media outlets focusing on the petition and the stories of three of these people – Zack, Rachel and Francesca – interviewing each of them about their personal experiences of visiting sports venues, the challenges they face doing something so many of us take for granted, and why they were each supporting the petition.

We set-up filming days at key locations including Chesterfield FC, The Lowry in Manchester and Rotherham United to bring the stories to life and highlight venues that are getting it right.

And further case studies were pitched in regionally to ensure nationwide visibility for the campaign.

Influential names and sports ambassadors also had a key role to play in endorsing our message, providing additional media opportunities and spreading the word through their own channels, too.

We liaised with key MPs get their backing for the campaign, and worked with Paralympian Anne Wafulu-Strike to compile an open letter, pitched in to a national title.

The results

The campaign launched with an exclusive TV package and on-sofa interview on BBC Breakfast, lasting more than nine minutes in duration on a prime time weekday slot.

Alongside this, more than 23 other relevant pieces of media coverage were secured around the launch, including slots on BBC Radio 5 Live, a feature and publication of the open letter in The Guardian; Disability Insider; and many more regional and specialist outlets.

Most importantly, the coverage drove more than 1,500 signatures on the petition within the first week of the campaign, and resulted in a response from the Disability Minister as well as discussions beginning around securing a meeting with key MPs to push for change.

  • 1,500petition signatures within the first week
  • 23pieces of relevant media coverage for the launch