Carers First


Carers First is a charity that provides support to unpaid carers in Lincolnshire, Waltham Forest, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, Haringey, Newham, Hackney and Medway.  

Its support ranges from training for carers to support their loved ones in everyday tasks, to financial or legal advice. 


In 2022, Carers First approached Shooting Star for support with its Lighten the Load campaign. This aimed to enhance unpaid carers’ knowledge and confidence around their finances during the cost of living crisis, and ultimately increase the number of unpaid carers accessing financial support to improve their lives through the charity.  


Shooting Star devised a communications plan based on three target areas: celebrity, radio ads and print ads. The team researched seven celebrities who had experience of caring for a loved one, and pitched the Carers First survey results and press release to each of them for a comment, interview or talking heads film clip.  

The team also researched radio stations and news outlets which operate across each of the eight Carers First service areas. It collaborated with Bauer Media to create and distribute radio ads across stations such as Lincs FM and Greatest Hits Radio Essex, as well as national stations such as KISS FM, Magic, Absolute Radio and Greatest Hits Radio to ensure the furthest possible reach for Carers First’s messaging.  

Shooting Star also used its existing relationships with journalists and news outlets to secure print ads in newspapers across Lincolnshire, Essex and Greater London.  


Shooting Star gained exponential coverage for Carers First by partnering with TV presenter Kate Garraway who posted an Instagram video to her 1.1million followers which included the Carers First survey results, addressing the cost of living crisis and its impact on unpaid carers. 

Kate also appeared on LBC Radio for an interview on Shelagh Fogarty’s afternoon show during which she talked about Carers First, and also gave an exclusive interview with The Sun in the same week, mentioning Carers First’s campaign messaging.  

Shooting Star then liaised with former BBC Royal Correspondent Jennie Bond, who provided a comment for the Lighten the Load campaign in a targeted press release which received coverage in several prominent care publications.  

Outlander star and Batman actor Colin McFarlane worked with the team to provide the voiceover for the Lighten the Load radio ads which resulted in a 99.20% listen through rate via Bauer Media.  

By using targeted celebrity outreach, newsjacking techniques and broadcast media, mentions of Carers First resulted in an estimated 35 million opportunities to see, and estimated advertising value equivalent of £598,000. 

Online carer registrations increased by 8% during the campaign and were 92% higher than the previous year. The charity had 1,500 carers contact its helpline to enquire about financial support during the campaign month, and the website received a 10.5% increase in visits during this time.  

The team at Shooting Star were able to work with us and develop a plan that suited our needs and requests to help us promote our new campaign to reach and support more unpaid carers. Their tailored proposal enabled us to achieve the specific results we hoped for. We were delighted with how they were able to secure support from celebrities such as Kate Garraway, and their flexible approach meant we were able to react to the changing response to the campaign. The end results exceeded our expectations, with invaluable press coverage. We look forward to working with them again in the near future.