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commscampnorth: the pre-event social


Commscampnorth would not be complete without a social ahead of the main event.

On the evening of 22.10.19 we will explore the finest sights Bradford has to offer.

It’s a chance to meet-up with old friends, meet some new people and have some curry and try out the beers and soft drinks in two of the city’s notable establishments.

From 5pm, we’ll be at Sunbridge Wells (postcode: BD1 1SD) which has entrances off Aldermanbury, Sunbridge Road, Millergate and Ivegate. See the Twitter video below for the simplest way in.

From 7pm, we’ll be at Jinnah Bradford for the finest curry in Yorkshire. The address is Leeds Road, BD1 5BL.

A big thank you to Albert Freeman for his insider knowledge in arranging the two venues.

To book a place at the curry head to the eventbrite to reserve a place.

There are several ways into Sunbridge Wells. Here’s a video of the way in most of you will probably want to use:

commscampnorth: Where to stay and how to get there

The Wool Exchange, Bradford.
The Wool Exchange, Bradford.

Your ticket has been secured and now you’re planning your trip to commscampnorth.

Firstly, well done.

You’ve got one of the hottest tickets of the year.

Secondly, crikey. A plan!

As you know, there’s a cake table at the event and we encourage attendees to either bake or bring along a shop-bought cake. You can buy back a slice of cake to keep your belly happy during the day, and all the proceeds go to our charity MacMillan Cancer. There is even a competition for Star Baker, so if you want to get all Bake Off on us then you can really go to town.

There’s a few other things, too.

On the day: The venue

We’ll be in Kala Sangam, St Peter’s House, 1 Forster Square, Bradford and if you’re navigating by satnav or Google maps the postcode you’ll need is BD1 4TY.

The building is the former town Post Office and stands by Bradford Cathedral near the Broadway shopping centre. Today, it is home to a thriving multicultural arts centre.

On the day: Timings

The venue will be open to the public at 9am on 23.10.19. We encourage you to get there as soon as you can so you can grab a cup of coffee and meet people ahead of the start of pitching at 10am. This is when we’ll chose which sessions we’ll run.

We’ll be done and dusted by 5.30pm.

On the day: Transport and rail and the walking train

There are two railway stations. We have Bradford Forster Square railway station at five minutes walk (postcode: BD1 4JB) and Bradford Interchange (postcode: BD1 1RX) which is eight minutes walk away.

From both, there will be a walking train which leaves at 9.10am. Look out for further instructions and the two volunteers holding the laminated commscampnorth logo airport-style.

For the Bradford Interchange walking train, head through the ticket barrier and down the stairs straight in front of you to the lower concourse. We’ll be waiting at the bottom of the steps.

For the Forster Square walking train, head past the ticket office and bear to the right, walking past the lift. We’ll be hanging around the city centre exit, just before the slope up in front of the Midland Hotel.

If you will be making your own way from one of the stations, here are a couple of videos of the routes.

On the day: Parking

If you’re driving, the best car park is The Broadway shopping centre from the the entrance off Hall Ings on the A6181. That’s £5 for the day. if you get there before 9.30am. You can also join the walking train at the Interchange if you are worried about getting lost.

The night before: Accomodation in Bradford

Bradford has no shortage of hotels in each reach of the city centre.

The organising team are heading to the two-star Ibis Budget hotel in Prince Court, 15-minutes walk away from the venue. More upmarket is the four-star Jury’s Inn in Thornton Road. The two-star New Beehive Inn in Westgate is 16-minutes away. The three-star Great Victoria Hotel in Bridge Street is 15-minutes away. The three star Holiday Inn in Vicar Lane is 10-minutes walk away.

For the best accommodation deals do head to trivago.

The night before: The pre-event social

We’ll be in the city centre for a trip to a pub and a curry.

From 5pm, we’ll be at Sunbridge Wells (postcode: BD1 1SD) which has entrances off Aldermanbury, Sunbridge Road, Millergate and Ivegate.

From 7pm, we’ll be at Jinnah Bradford for the finest curry in Yorkshire. The address is Leeds Road, BD1 5BL.

To book a place at the curry head to the eventbrite to reserve a place head here.

A place at the curry doesn’t mean a place at the event and yes, you’ll have to stump up for your curry and drinks, obvs.

There are several ways into Sunbridge Wells. Here’s a video of the way in most of you will probably want to use:

Pic credit: jonfarman / wikimedia commons



Sold out: We’ve switched the waitlist on, here’s how it works


We’ve been taken aback by the interest for commscampnorth in Bradford.

More than 150 tickets have been issued across three releases with each release being snapped up in around two minutes for the event on October 23.

If you’ve missed out…

Don’t worry.

We’ve switched on the waitlist which means you can add your name and details and if you’re in luck we’ll give you a window of 24-hours to claim a ticket.

You can join the waitlist right here. Hit the green register button and then hit the waitlist button and add your details.

If you can’t come…

Do let us know as soon as possible. Drop a line by email to, via Twitter to @commscamp or you can cancel via the ticket yourself via eventbrite.

It’s really, really, really important that you do let us know you can’t come because we can free-up your space for someone else.

Pic credit: Nigel Bishop


9 pieces of good comms from Yorkshire


Commscampnorth is an event for public sector people wherever they come from.

It’s an unconference which means the agenda gets shaped on the day by attendees. It’s a formula that means bright ideas are shaped and connections are formed.

The 2019 event on 23.10.19 will take place in Bradford after being held in Manchester and Sheffield in previous years.

We thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the great communications that’s emerged from the broad acres of Yorkshire.

Who better to ask than some bright Yorkshire public sector people?

#1 Yorkshire is a name that resonates

The county name itself is a piece of communications, says Yorkshire Housing interim manager Hannah Jowett.

The place name inspires some things to be proud of.

“Yorkshire is an inspiring brand. Think majestic landscapes, thriving cities, cultural diversity and  culinary delights from Yorkshire Pudding to curry. It has Olympic and cycling heroes,  or cricket on a green. Yorkshire mixes ‘traditional’ England with modern progress to produce a  brand as authentic and friendly as its people.”


#2 A Yorkshire Tea campaign with Sean Bean on brand

Yorkshire is not just a place but a mindset and an approach to life that’s ‘proper’, web and creative services business partner at Doncaster Council Rob Jefferson says. He’s chosen the Sean Bean Yorkshire Tea campaign.

“It doesn’t get more Yorkshire than Yorkshire Tea, where they make ‘proper brews’. In their recruitment campaign, Sean Bean plays a member of HR inducting new staff to the company. Why does it work? It’s relatable, stirring and humorous, spilling out into the twitter replies too. My cup of tea.

#3 A video that seeks to break the mould

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s ‘My Mum, the Firefighter’ video selected by Siobhan Dransfield, marketing communications manager, Wakefield Council.

This is content that starts with the target of recruiting more female firefighters and then creates bespoke content that is targeted.  

“South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have established themselves as creators of innovative, out-of-the-box comms.

“Their use of video in particular has been effective and ‘My firefighting mum’ was no exception.

“It’s a simple idea – children talking about what makes their mums great, followed by a moving montage of them with their firefighter mums. They deliberately avoided branding so it can be used by anyone – genius!”

#4 A charity with a human Yorkshire voice

NHS charity EyUp! was selected by Jude Tipper strategic communications lead, NHSD Digital.

It’s an approach that sidesteps the NHS branding template to be a bit more creative and human.

“EyUp! is an NHS charity that brings health and happiness to Yorkshire folk.

“The EyUp! brand uses a touch of local dialect to promote generosity for a local cause.

“It pays for the sort of stuff our NHS can’t always afford – the bobby dazzler ideas that make a proper difference.”


#5 A hashtag to celebrate community volunteers

The photo campaign with the hashtag #floodheroes led by Calderdale Council working with the Environment Agency was chosen by Defra communications specialist Catherine Seal. 

The images highlighted vital work in improving how the community was preparing against future flooding three years on from the 2015 Boxing Day floods.

“Not only was this an effective way of encouraging more people to prepare for wetter weather & do their bit to protect their properties – it was also celebratory of the amazing community spirit in the valley & a way for organisations to thank them.”myth

#6 Making visitors to Yorkshire welcome

A hashtag that started in the county and then snowballed has been chosen by Georgia Unsworth, senior communications officer at NHSX.

The #WeAreInternational hashtag that began in Sheffield seeks to celebrate difference.

“#WeAreInternational. Established by the University of Sheffield and its Students’ Union, it celebrates diverse university communities and the benefits they bring. It’s all about loud, proud messaging and content – supported by an army of stakeholders. In these divisive times, a campaign that celebrates unity and inclusivity couldn’t be more welcome.”


#7 Barnsley Council’s straight fly-tipping campaign

Direct content and a direct approach have impressed South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s Alex Mills.

“Yorkshire folk are known for being straight talking and bold- which is why I loved Barnsley Council’s #EverybodyThinkcampaign to cut fly tipping in the town.   From a publicity stunt where they dumped rubbish on the steps of the town hall, to using video of fly tippers vans getting seized and crushed the comms and marketing team thought big, showed bravery and delivered a campaign which packed a punch.”


#8 a risque calendar that helped upend attitudes

A group of women who posed nude to raise money showed spark and spirit and changed attitudes says inCommunities Housing’s Caroline Chapman.

“My quintessential comms is the Calendar Girls. With a simple rethink of an existing idea they raised over £5 million pounds, revitalized the image of the WI and inspired a film and a musical. They remind us to be brave, be creative, don’t be afraid to ask and have fun.”


#9 West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership get 45,000 people to look out for their neighbours.

The ‘Looking Out For Our Neighbours’ social marketing campaign saw the NHS and councils team-up to get people looking out for each other, says Karen Coleman comms and engagement lead at the NHS’s Harrogate CCG.

“As demand for health care increases, we need to see more people in their communities driving community change. There was an opportunity to create a Partnership campaign – the first of its kind – and make a positive impact.”



Picture credit:

Yorkshire landscape: Tim Green / Flickr

Ribblehead Viaduct: AndrewBone / Flickr

#commscampnorth: Why Bradford?

Having been to both the Commscamp North events in Manchester and Sheffield, I’m am now helping to bring this fantastic public sector comms event to Bradford, a place with much to offer.

The Bradford District is one of the largest local authority areas in England with one of the fastest growing economies. Over 537,000 people live in the varied and diverse Bradford District and Bradford is one of the youngest cities in Europe. 29% of its population is under 20 and nearly a quarter is under 16.

As well as the city of Bradford, the district includes several popular towns and villages and large beautiful rural areas with lovely countryside. Among the district’s towns and villages are the World Heritage village of Saltaire, and Haworth, which gave the world the Brontë sisters.

Saltaire, a World Heritage Village

The world’s first City of Film

In 2009 Bradford was named the world’s first UNESCO City of Film. You might be surprised just how many films or TV programmes have been filmed in the Bradford District. To name just a few, Peaky Blinders, Downton Abbey, The King’s Speech, The Railway Children, Emmerdale, Funny Cow, Gentleman Jack, Billy Liar, Victoria, Official Secrets and Coronation Street have all used settings in the Bradford District as filming locations. Continue reading #commscampnorth: Why Bradford?

A love letter on how the cake table will work at #commscampnorth


by Kate Bentham

Dear #commscampnorth attendee,

It’s heading towards #commscampnorth, which coincidentally is the same day that it’s OK to eat cake for all your main meals and any snacks in between. You’ll love it. It’s like when you get to eat chocolate for breakfast on Christmas morning.

Some might say that #commscampnorth is all about the comms, but those people would be wrong.

It’s more than that. It’s about the pitches, the ideas, the sessions, the photos and videos, the friends you’ll make, the people off Twitter you’ll finally get to meet, the networking, the sponsors, the pre-event curry and most importantly the CAKE! that really makes it #CommsCakeNorth more than anything.

Where cake comes from

The term “cake” has a long history. The word itself is of Viking origin, from the Old Norse word “kaka”. Impressive enough, but that cannot rival the cake table at CommsCamp, within a long history, dating back to 2013 when the first CommsCamp was held in Birmingham.

For those who haven’t been to a CommsCamp before, let me fill you in on the main points you will need to know about the cake table.

What you need to know about the cake table

  • The cake table only works because of the lovely people who bake cakes and bring them along for others to share. If you can, please bake a cake. It doesn’t have to be a show stopper, a simple traybake or a dozen fairy cakes will be appreciated. It’s amazing how conversations and networking improve with a bit of lemon drizzle.
  • If you do bake you will be entered into the CommsCamp Star Baker competition. It’s a fiercely fought contest and there’s no surprise in that, the prize is amazing.
  • If you’re not a cake baker, don’t worry, there’s no shame in bringing along a shop bought cake, we appreciate them too. All cake is welcome at the cake table.
  • We also need cake eaters. We ask those that can, to make a donation to charity in return for a slice of yummy cake. This year all money from the cake table will go to MacMillan Cancer Support who offer emotional, physical and financial support to the millions of people, and their families, who are affected by cancer. This is a charity close to our hearts and chosen by our very own Emma Rodgers so please look out for the donation bucket and please give generously. Just think how much you’d pay for a slice in one of those fancy coffee shops and give it to a good cause instead.
  • Since CommsCamp started our lovely attendees have raised over £1,500 for various charities. Proof, if proof were needed, that comms people are kind, generous and massive fans of cake.
  • If you donate for cake, be sure to take a raffle ticket. This will enter you into the end of camp tat raffle, where you will amaze yourself with a sudden desire to win chipped figurines, obscure LPs and jigsaws with pieces missing.
  • As an experienced cake eater, my cake table tips include a visit to the gym the day before to help ease any guilt, wearing baggy or elasticated clothes, and bring the big coins to donate to charity.
  • And remember, scientists have proven that all cake calories consumed during a CommsCamp don’t count. Bonus.

So, happy baking, happy eating, happy CommsCakeNorth. See you with your baked goods at the cake table on October 23.


Kate Bentham or Cake Bentham as Dan Slee once introduced me as.

Official Cake Monitor

(best job in the world.)

Picture credit: cake at commscampnorth, 2018 by Nigel Bishop


#commscampnorth: It’s Bradford’s time to shine

CCN Bradford date

Ladies and gents, there will be a commscampnorth and it will be in the glorious West Yorkshire city of Bradford.

It will take place on 23.10.19 at Kala Sangam in the city centre.

The event will be an unconference.

This means the event will be free, not for profit and will be run and organised by volunteers.

But it will be fired with the graft, spice, tea and bright ideas of Bradford and people from across the North. You want Northern Powerhouse? You can have it.

Why Bradford?

This will be the third commscampnorth and as with the others we are rotating it across the region. We’ve been to Manchester and to Sheffield and really, they were just a warm-up for the big one.

I was chatting to Albert Freeman about the requirements for an unconference. A big space with some smaller spaces off them. Tell people about it and then trust the process.

Why Kala Sangam?

Talking to Albert about he need for a city centre venue he had a moment of clarity. The arts centre in a converted Post Office sorting depot right on the edge of the city centre. So, together with Josephine Graham we looked and were impressed.

Who can come?

We want comms, PR, marketing, digital or frontline people from the public sector – or third sector – who are doers, tryers, makers, experimenters or who know there’s a better way of doing things.

We want people who would like to learn and would like to contribute who can bake a cake and can encourage new ideas. It doesn’t matter if you’ve ever been to an unconference before. We leave our job titles at the door and what you think is just as valid as someone who has been doing the job 20 years longer than you have.

When do tickets get released?

The FIRST public ticket release for public sector and third sector people will be at 1pm on 17.7.19.

A SECOND release is at 9pm on 25.7.19.

A THIRD release will be at noon on 6.9.19.

After this a wait list will operate and tickets will be released directly.

The link to eventbrite is HERE and will be password protected until they go live.

How can I beat the ticket stampede and become a volunteer?

In return for a pledge of some of your time you can register as a volunteer and we’ll send you a ticket before the public release. We’d love to see you and we’d love the extra pair of hands. Warning: there will be cake and a feeling of inner warmth.

Who can support or sponsor?

Anyone. Chat to Dan by email

What is an unconference?

This video explains it.


Who is behind it all?

There’s a range of volunteers who are part of the wider team and are helping on the day. The include Dan Slee (freelance comms person and commscamp co-founder), Albert Freeman (Bradford City Council), Josephine Graham (Bradford City Council on secondment to NHS Digital), Bridget Aherne (Keolis Amey Metrolink), Kate Bentham (Shropshire Council), Eddie Coates-Madden (Sheffield City Council).

I’m sure we’ll see Emma Rodgers on the tea urn on the day even though she’s taking a sabbatical from organising events this year.

On the day, everyone who turns up makes it.