Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Fingers crossed for our World of Difference Applicants! Mark Beagan, Partnerships Manager

Reminiscent of that classic 80s children program, we recently asked the question “Why Don’t You”....get involved in the Hello campaign and the national year of communication in 2011.

Now, there are at least four members of The Communication Trust team that will have no idea what I’m talking about. The rest of us, however, can complete, with ease, the following theme tune...."Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set And Go Out And Do Something....?".

What I’m trying to say, in a very roundabout way, is that we’d like to say a big THANK YOU to Alison, Linda, Annie and Robin, who have all applied to Vodafone’s ‘World of Difference’ scheme to support the Hello campaign next year! They’ve stepped forward to say they ‘want to do something’ for children that need help with their speech, language and communication in 2011.

Best of luck with your applications!

Monday, 15 November 2010

The power of the third sector - Wendy Lee, Professional Director

Since joining the third sector, I have had a strong and consistent message from our director Anita Kerwin-Nye regarding the unique expertise and position of the third sector. As a long term public sector professional, I felt the need to question this assertion; my feelings overwhelmingly told me that practitioners at the coal face make the difference – they really do! They have the expertise, the knowledge, the skills...

....though there is something missing.

In the public sector, there are amazing leaders and managers communicating the issue, networking, supporting their staff; who still manage, despite having the weight of the NHS machine on their shoulders, to have children and families at their heart. There are amazing practitioners, working with children, gifted in skills and expertise.

As a public sector worker, I spend time trying to avoid the constraints within which I found myself working, bending or working around rules (I confess – I didn’t go to the mandatory fire lectures on how to get sick people out of hospitals or the one on how to fit a cannualar). I spent a lot of time arguing with people about systems that didn’t work, a lot of time persuading, negotiating...I was told on more than one occasion that I was “difficult!” Hard to believe, I know!

What is missing for public sector workers is time and freedom. This is where the third sector comes into its own; it is not constrained by systems to ration, narrow or pigeon hole.

The third sector can and does employ a range of individuals with a range of expertise, not only in speech, language and communication needs, but in managing projects, partners, marketing, press and public affairs...collaborative working at its best.

They have a national perspective with strategic and policy expertise enabling them to knock on the door of MPs and say – think about this – it will make a difference – here’s the evidence – this is how it can work.

For practitioners the day job is providing a service, working with children and families. For the third sector, the day job is to listen to grass roots workers and families and to try and make the situation easier, smoother – better for children, families and for practitioners.

Anita said at our parliamentary event that the Hello campaign would not have happened without the third sector. She is absolutely right. She also said that the expertise needed was in that room – and for me, this is the key.

The Hello campaign is much more than a national campaign – as with communication, it is everybody’s business. People in that room were professionals, third sector, businesses, politicians, families and children – it is the combined and collaborative efforts of all that will turn the campaign into the national and local success it absolutely needs to be.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Start spreading the news - Andrew Ball, Campaign Director

It’s 3 weeks since we launched Hello at the House of Commons and it’s really starting to feel real now – even more so now that we have launched our first stakeholder communication pack (which you can download from www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/hello).

The communication pack is something that we’re going to issue on a monthly basis and add to as we go through the campaign. We hope that this first edition gives you lots of information about what we are trying to achieve and answers some of those burning questions you may have had – though it falls short of some of the harder questions in life like where do babies come from, what are we all doing here or how the hell is Wagner still in X Factor. If you have any suggestions on what we might include in future editions then please do let us know – you can e-mail the campaign team via hello@thecommunicationtrust.org.uk.

To quote Frank Sinatra: “doobe doobe doobe doo”. Sorry, wrong quote. Meant to say: “start spreading the news”. The more we can get people talking about Hello, blogging about Hello, e-mailing, tweeting, facebooking (sorry dictionary corner but I think I just made that verb up) or presenting about Hello the better. So please use the communication pack to help us get this out there – in many cases you just need to cut and paste, though it would be even better if you can put your own stamp on things.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Pixie donates song to anti-bullying

Pixie Lott has donated her song Get Weak to a bullying charity to raise awareness about the issue, it has been announced.

The song will become the anthem for Beatbullying's Big March, a global online protest campaign.

The Big March is calling for a bullying review to work with victims, schools and the Government to tackle the issues of bullying, harassment and violence against children.

It is also asking the Government to create two new Bills - a School Safety Bill to make it against the law to hurt, harass or bully children in school, and a Cyber Bullying Bill to protect youngsters online.

Ms Lott said: "As an ambassador of Beatbullying I know that anyone can be a victim of bullying - it's not embarrassing!"

"Tall or short, skinny or big, they always find something to pick at. Don't let them win. If you're determined to make it, you can and you will."

The song is available for free download for a limited period from the Beatbullying website - www.beatbullying.org