Preston Partnership and Preston City Council

Putting Preston’s regeneration story in the national spotlight


Preston Partnership and Preston City Council


Property and Placemaking

How we helped:

  • Strategic communications
  • Message development
  • PR and communications management
  • National media relations
  • Website design and development

Working with Preston Partnership and Preston City Council, Freshfield’s brief was to devise a strategy to communicate Preston’s £20.9m Town Deal and the projects that would kickstart £200m worth of cultural regeneration in the city’s Harris Quarter.

This involved working in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders including Preston City Council, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, public consultation teams, and other local government and development partners.

Following an initial media announcement about the Town Deal, we managed the PR and communications around the first phase of the programme; the city’s Pop Ups projects which had received £1m of initial funding.

The Pop Ups projects were aimed at encouraging people back into the city centre following the coronavirus pandemic and included a new mobile event space, street art and public realm improvements. Among them was the official launch of a bronze sculpture of animated duo Wallace and Gromit, honouring their Preston-born creator and Academy Award winner Nick Park.

Nick Park was invited to officially unveil the sculpture in the Harris Quarter, an event that gained coverage including the BBC, ITV, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Independent and Evening Standard. We worked closely with the Press Association to enable our content to be shared with news publications around the world, resulting in coverage as far afield as India and the US.

We also teamed up with BBC’s The One Show, working with Nick Park’s team at Aardman Animations to offer The One Show exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the making of the sculpture. This resulted in a significant segment on The One Show on the evening of the launch and an opportunity for its regular audience of four million people to see it being unveiled in Preston.

Overall, there were 107 pieces of media coverage relating to Preston’s Town Deal and its projects, gaining an estimated 3.9m online coverage views and 7.92 million ‘opportunities to see’ on television, putting Preston’s regeneration story firmly in the national spotlight.

As well as shaping the communications plan, we also created a dedicated website for the Preston Partnership to communicate the key projects that made up the Town Deal and wider 15-year City Investment Plan.

“On the day of the Wallace and Gromit sculpture launch it was great to see the national media descending on our city and just how engaged the public were – it was a great start to our regeneration story. The communications strategy devised by Freshfield has laid solid foundations for our comms moving forward and their work to promote key projects within the Town Deal has helped us to show things are actually happening, not just being talked about.”

Preston Partnership