Despite media interest generally confined to negative adult social care stories relating to the funding gap and fragile provider market impacting on those in need of care, opportunities for more positive stories should not be overlooked.

Oxfordshire County Council is just one local authority proving that heart-warming stories on adult social care can generate good local media coverage – in print, on radio and even TV news.

Further favourable spin-offs from these press releases include strong engagement on social media and ‘hits’ on the story on the council’s website.

Oxfordshire’s adult social care team has been finding good case studies for stories on a regular basis and have been surprised and encouraged by the ease with which they’ve persuaded service users to have their stories “go public”.

In the past couple of months alone, Oxfordshire has published several personal stories, which have been well received by the public and media alike.

These have included a railway enthusiast who is being driven out to watch trains; a daytime support user overjoyed with a new community support service; a stroke survivor recovering thanks to rehabilitation and referral support; and the user of a new social group set up to help people with both hearing and sight loss.

In the words of Oxfordshire’s Media Communications Manager, Paul Smith, “not every single one of them makes it in to the media, but the majority do.”

So, despite the media’s focus on the negative impact of significantly underfunded adult social care, there’s still an appetite among news editors – at a local level at least – for positive, personal stories on how good, tailored care is helping people lead more fulfilling and independent lives.

For those adult social care teams not doing so already, it’s well worth taking a leaf out of Oxfordshire’s book. Personal uplifting stories on people receiving care helps to put the ‘human’ into human interest stories, which is often key to media interest.

Alan Harris

ADASS Media Officer