FUNDRAISING NEWS: CAMPAIGN WATCH - JUST BREAKING

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In its first ever poster campaign, Action for ME is targeting the general public instead of people with the condition, known as chronic fatigue syndrome. The initiative comes in the wake of the Government officially recognising ME last year.

Previously GPs had little knowledge or training about the condition, which meant people could not be diagnosed or receive benefits. The Government estimates that ME - full name myalgic encephalopathy - affects around 240,000 people.

The campaign is called 1% and was launched to coincide with ME awareness week earlier this month. It was accompanied by a report called Cost to the Nation, which revealed that ME costs £3.5 billion a year. The campaign hopes to convince ministers to invest £35 million - 1 per cent of that cost - in research.

At the start of the campaign, no money was being put into researching the condition, which is estimated to cost each sufferer £15,000 a year. The Government has since announced £8.5 million for clinical services and research.

The posters have been distributed by 180 independent ME self-help groups that are affiliated to Action for ME. The imagery is being used in fundraising and displayed in surgeries, libraries and clinics across the country.

The groups are also contacting local press in the hope of gaining feature coverage to further spread awareness.

The campaign features three strong images - 'Plug', 'Boy' and 'Fuel gauge' - that convey how ME affects a person. The fuel gauge image (far left) states how people living with the condition feel like they're constantly running on empty, while 'Plug' stresses that sufferers are left feeling more than just 'burnt out'.

"We wanted to reposition ME as a condition that is far worse than people think," says Chris Arnold, creative director at Feel." We've used images that capture a sense of serious fatigue but the headline 'This doesn't even start to convey what it is like to have ME' makes the consumer realise this condition is beyond their imagination."

As part of the 1% campaign, the charity is to launch a public petition involving around 200 local ME groups using postcards.

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