Project Description

COVID-19 messaging for older children and young people

Our Cut COVID social media campaign won the UKPHR award for the collaboration with Medway Council and Medway Public Health. The campaign engaged children and young people about actions they can take to help reduce coronavirus spread.


The challenge was finding new and engaging ways of framing the evolving social distancing rules, lockdown restrictions and safety guidance. With rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Medway, and social media already saturated with messaging about COVID-19, the guidance didn’t feel relevant to younger users. This campaign aimed to inspire young people to recognise the vital role they could play.


  • Engagement
  • Creative Design
  • Motion graphics
  • Social Media Marketing


As the first phase of the campaign was launching in the build up to Halloween, we took inspiration from classic horror movie posters. Using design references and a tone that stood out from the traditional all-ages campaign approach, the images provided new opportunities for a younger audience to stop and reflect on their actions.

For subsequent phases of the campaign, we designed a survey to test messaging for children and young people aged 13 – 25 years old. Two virtual design workshops, organised in partnership with a local secondary school, successfully captured their views.


The local council, schools, colleges, voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations helped us promote and distribute the survey widely and survey results shaped ongoing campaign materials and channel selection. The campaign reached over 400,000 people and created over one million impressions.

“Medway Public Health are delighted to win the UKPHR award for collaboration. The project was born out of the lockdown survey where young people told us that government messages were confusing and that young people wanted them translated into media that both informed and engaged. NEL and the young people of Medway collaborated closely with us [Medway Council and Medway Public Health] in producing and devising a diverse set of multi-media that hundreds of thousands of young people accessed, not just in Medway but nationwide, using channels that are often not used to communicate information of this nature to young people. NEL worked closely with us to produce a set of high-quality and engaging designs that helped reduce COVID rates and improved knowledge and understanding of young people.”

There was great feedback from Year 11 GCSE students from the Robert Napier School who said, “We really enjoyed being involved in this exciting project that helped to keep people safe.”

James Harman, Head of Children’s Services Commissioning at Medway Council

“The success of this campaign really highlights two vital things about the way we work. First, collaboration between everyone right from the start, helping to fully explore and define the issues before co-creating a solution that really meets the need. Second, talking with (and listening to!) the people you’re trying to reach. All to often assumptions are made about an audience that lead to a campaign not reaching its full potential.”

Andy Butler, Creative and Marketing Lead at NEL Design Solutions

Sam Wright“One thing we really wanted to impress in this campaign was that we didn’t want to patronise or blame young people. Getting their involvement right from the start was important to understand how we could communicate in ways that would resonate with them. We were concerned about young people’s mental health so we looked to support them and remind them of the guidance in a less intense but memorable way”.

Sam Wright, Multimedia Designer at NEL Design Solutions

Listen to Sofie Wheeldon, Child Programme Health Manager at Medway Public Health, share the reason for entering the campaign and hear the announcement of our award announcement

Want the nightmare of 2020 to end? Help #CutCovid this #Halloween. 🧟🎃 It could be as simple as choosing to stay in and watch a scary movie. 😱📽️

Get in touch with us at if you would like to find out how we can help you with campaigns for older children and young people.