Our Story

Freshwater, Cardiff, 15/12/2023

Freshwater’s story is one of its people.

The team of more than 50 communications specialists who achieve collaboratively. The diversity of more than 2,000 past and current clients, many of whom have become friends. And the vision of founder and former BBC journalist, Steve Howell, more than 25 years ago.

What started as a PR company in Newport, South Wales in 1997 is now recognised as one of the UK’s leading communications agencies. Today it has a national reach, an integrated service offering and an enviable list of clients.


Where it all began

The early days focused on growth in Wales. In 2001, we worked alongside Team Wales to bring the 2010 Ryder Cup Golf Tournament to Newport. We then worked with the European Tour and Ryder Cup Europe to manage the PR in the lead up to, and during, the largest sporting event Wales has ever hosted.

Soon we were working side-by-side with other great brands too. For four years, we managed the store opening programme for John Lewis, from Cardiff to Cambridge and everywhere in-between. We’ve also been working with Specsavers for more than 20 years, and still count them as a client today.

Growing and diversifying

After establishing a reputation in Wales, we embarked on a UK-wide growth strategy which saw us acquire a number of agencies including healthcare specialists, CLEAR, and conference, public affairs and transport specialists, Waterfront, giving us a foothold in London.

And with a new focus came a new name. We rebranded as Freshwater in 2004, taking our inspiration from a beautiful bay in West Wales.

As our geographical footprint grew, so did our services. We were quick to adapt to a changing industry, and were one of the first to embrace a fully integrated, multi-channel offering. In 2011, we won a UK CIPR Excellence Award for Best Integrated Campaign for our ‘Invisible Death Row’ organ donation campaign.

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Where we are today

Today, we have offices in two capital cities – Cardiff and London – and a network of consultants across the UK.

We deliver a full range of communication services from public relations, public affairs, crisis management and content marketing to video, design, digital marketing and website development. And our sister company, Waterfront, continues to deliver industry-leading conferences on transport, planning and infrastructure.

While the way we run campaigns has evolved since the early days, there are some absolutes that haven’t changed. We’re driven by our purpose to Make it Matter. We work with clients we share values with. Support causes we believe in. And create campaigns that have a positive impact on people, communities and the environment.

Our clients tend to be with us for the long-haul, because we care in the same way they do. That’s why winning a PRCA award for ‘Best In-House/Agency Collaboration’ for the #WhatTheFox? campaign we delivered with the League Against Cruel Sport was extra special.

We are also proud to be recognised in PR Week’s Top 150 agencies. And to be acknowledged by the Financial Times as one of the UK’s leading management consultants.

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Our people

It’s Freshwater’s people who’ve made all this happen. By embracing new technologies. Challenging the tried and tested. And developing endless new ideas and solutions.

It’s also these personalities that add creativity and innovative thinking to campaigns. We build long-term relationships with clients. We become an extension of their teams. And we continuously look to improve, innovate and challenge the status quo.

Because of our values, people tend to stick around too. Our first employee is still part of the team today, and we’re proud to have industry-beating staff and client retention rates.

As a company, we have a genuine desire to make a positive difference. We always give best advice and do what is right. We let results do the talking. And while winning awards is great, delighting clients is the ultimate reward.

Freshwater’s story is one of its people. We hope you’ll be part of the next chapter.