Diwali Day


25Oct2011

Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre during DiwaliAction Stations!

Diwali Day (Wednesday 26th October 2011) was the first event for the Rik Basra Campaign and was organised at very short notice. The centrepiece for Diwali celebrations in Leicester takes place on Belgrave Road along the famous “Golden Mile”. The event attracts upwards of 30,000 attendees, despite the short notice the opportunity was too good to miss. A dedicated team of friends, family and police colleagues with support from Anthony Nolan enthusiastically set the wheels in motion.

The Publicity Machine Started Rolling!

Publicising the event was always going to be challenging and a number of approaches were taken...

  • The RB Campaign received fantastic support from Leicestershire Police’s Media Department.... 
  • The local media, television, radio and written publications both “mainstream” and those catering for minority sections of the community raised the profile of the campaign immensely.
  • The Leicester Gurdwara's rallied to publicise the issues not just to the to the Sikh community but also wider through their extensive interfaith links.
  • Not to be forgotten is the hard work by volunteers who trudged through the streets for many an hour handing out leaflets and posters.

The campaign also started to utilise social media, it was a steep learning curve which it would be fair to say we are still climbing, fortunately we have had some excellent support and guidance from more enlightened campaign volunteers.

Publicity posters and flyers were designed and produced outlining the urgent need for stem cell donors. The literature also outlined “Rik’s Story” and importantly a FAQ’s section not just to answer obvious questions but also to dispel myth and misinformation and in so doing allay fears regarding the registration and subsequent donation process.

To view the event leaflet/flyer go here...

To view the event post go here...

Additional support…

The campaign received the kind endorsement from Gary Lineker, Gary’s son was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia as a baby… (see media article1... article2).

“This campaign is very close to my heart as my own son, George, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia when he was only weeks old. “Thankfully, George’s life was saved by the treatment he received at Great Ormond Street hospital, and he is now a very healthy 19-year-old. However, through my own experience, I can sympathise with and understand the anguish Rik’s family are going through at this time, in trying to find a suitable blood stem cell donor.

“I would personally urge everyone to think about registering to become blood stem cell donor.

“Please take that positive step – it is your chance to give a leukaemia victim the gift of life.”

To see examples of the pre event publicity click below…

BBC article sample here...

We arranged two venues the first was the primary site for stem cell donor registration situated right in the heart of the Diwali celebrations at the Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre. Many thanks to Leicester City Council who very kindly allowed us to make use of a room at the venue on what was obviously one of the busiest days of the year in the site calendar. The second venue was situated at disused school buildings situated on Abbey Park Street, this was more a logistical centre with parking and welfare amenities for volunteers as well as a contingency for any overflow from the Neighbourhood Centre if required.

Stem cell donor registration took place over a three hour period between 6-9pm, with pre publicity limited we were forced to adopt a strategy of dedicated volunteers canvassing potential donors.

How Did We Do?…

140 Stem Cell Donors Registered on the night with additional attendees who had fallen foul of the food/drink limitations undertaking to do so online.

Importantly we had raised the profile of the campaign and the issues involved creating a solid foundation for further work…

Example of Post Event publicity…here