Jack Brooke-Battersby
By Jack Brooke-Battersby

Senior Staff Writer

15 February 2022



Health chiefs back new Covid campaign featuring North East artists

Despite Plan B measures across England having ended in January, Covid continues to spread across the North East. The region's public health chiefs are backing a new campaign featuring local artist Alex Mulholland (known as Mul) and designer and illustrator, Laura Sheldon.

Alice Wiseman, Director Public Health for Gateshead
Alice Wiseman, Director Public Health for Gateshead

The new Beat Covid NE campaign - featuring eye-catching artwork and stirring slogans at locations around the region - will remind residents that whilst the peak of Omicron appears to be reducing, there is lots they can still do to minimise the disruption coronavirus causes as restrictions end.

While Covid rates across the region have fallen considerably in the last week, rates remain above the national average.

Public health chiefs from the seven local authorities (LA7) in the North East - including; Sunderland City Council, Gateshead Council, Newcastle City Council, South Tyneside Council, North Tyneside Council, Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council - are backing the new campaign, which aims to support the region as we learn to live alongside Covid.

Alice Wiseman is Director Public Health for Gateshead. She said; “This) marks another step in the journey towards living alongside Covid and, thanks to the actions of people across the North East, things are definitely heading in the right direction. A huge part of this is the exceptional response of local people who have taken up the vaccine and boosters, which still remain our best line of defence against the virus and my sincere thanks goes to each and every person.

“However we all want to see infection rates continue to fall and then remain as low as possible in the long-term. This campaign reminds people that their simple actions can have a big effect on slowing the spread of the virus going forwards, as we learn to live alongside it.

“Whether that’s isolating when you show symptoms, testing regularly or wearing face coverings in crowded places, as well as taking up the vaccine, there’s lots we can all do ongoing to help slow the spread of the virus.”

The new campaign will roll out at locations across the region from February as well as on TV, radio, digital media and billboards.

Speaking about the power of art to carry persuasive messages, Jill Cole from creative arts organisation Northern Heartlands, said; “Throughout the ages art has had the ability to convey powerful, enduring messages to communities in a way that cuts through the noise. If you think back to World War II you immediately think of Keep Calm and Carry On and the slogans and artwork that typified the era.

“Over the past two years we’ve all been inundated with messaging about covid and the latest rules. At times it’s felt a little overwhelming but with this new campaign the councils are working with local artists to get their unique, creative take on what it means to live with Covid.

“Whether that’s mask wearing, getting boosted or testing yourself regularly, the artists and illustrators are creating eye-catching works that will stop us in our tracks and remind us all of the simple steps we can all take to do our bit while living alongside coronavirus.”

To find out more about Beat Covid NE visit, www.beatcovidne.co.uk