Corporate social responsibility

CIPR awards Sir Stephen Tallents medal to Sarah Hall










The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has recognised Sarah Hall with one of the highest industry honours.

A CIPR board and council member, and also chair of the professional practices committee for the Institute, Sarah has been presented with the Sir Stephen Tallents Medal, which is awarded at the discretion of the president to recognise exceptional achievement in public relations practice by a CIPR member.

The award was introduced in 1984 in memory of the CIPR’s first president Stephen Tallents, who was a founder of public relations in Britain and the BBC’s first controller of public relations and deputy director general under Lord Reith.

CIPR president Stephen Waddington said: As President of the CIPR I have in my gift the opportunity to present the Sir Stephen Tallents medal to an individual that I believe has made a significant contribution to the CIPR. Sarah has excelled in her contribution to the CIPR and the broader public relations profession.

“From the outset of her career in public relations she has been committed to supporting best practice as a CIPR member both personally and in the teams that she has led. As a member of the board and council this year she has helped significantly to drive our agenda on modernity, diversity and ethics.”

The owner-manager of Sarah Hall Consulting Ltd, Sarah leads a team of seven working with some of the North East’s most recognisable brands, including Sage Gateshead, Go Smarter, Rowlands Accountants, Spire Washington Hospital, Aspers Casino and Anderson & Garland. She has always volunteered with the CIPR and is also a Trustee for the Sunshine Fund, which provides specialist equipment for disabled children in the North East.

Sarah said: “It is a real honour to have received this award and I am privileged to work with an Institute that deeply cares about professionalism, ethics and making sure it is fit for purpose both now and in the future.

“As the business continues to expand, I am fortunate to be able to turn to the CIPR for help and support, as I have done since the start of my career and with this is mind it is only fitting to give something back.”

Founded in 1948, the CIPR is the professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK. With 10,000 members involved in all aspects of PR, it is the largest body of its type in Europe. The CIPR advances the public relations profession in the UK by making its members accountable through a code of conduct, developing policies, representing its members and raising standards through education and training.

Please sponsor my Social Media Silence for the Sunshine Fund

Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 08.09.03And so it starts! My Social Media Silence to raise money for the Sunshine Fund as part of its Go Bananas campaign. Rules of engagement: - No posting on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Vimeo or Pinterest (or commenting on others' posts). - No secret surfing of these sites. - If I forget or deviate from these rules I have to pay a £10 forfeit to the charity every time (scheduled links to my fundraising page don't count). - I am allowed to use email to ask and chivvy other people to share my fundraising link. - Diary to be kept tracking progress (the experience of going cold turkey, plus missed interactions and witty banter!)

And so to the big ask. With no social media access, I'm reliant on YOU to help me fundraise. Every penny goes towards specialist equipment for disabled children here in the North East of England. Please don't let me drop out of your feeds entirely - if you could share my Virgin Money Giving page even just once throughout the course of this week on at least one social media platform, I'd appreciate it.

Thank you! See you on the 7th June...

The riches that were really rags and the rags that were really riches

20140228-142233.jpg As a Trustee of the Sunshine Fund, I was privileged to attend the Glass Slipper Awards today. These, as well as acting as a fundraiser for the charity, celebrate the achievements of North East women.

The event featured 3 amazing speakers: Catherine Senior, whose sister Jen has cerebral palsy, Val McDermid, author of Wire in the Blood and Caroline Theobald from The Bridge Club.

I just wanted to share a few points from Caroline's speech because it seemed to me the perfect reminder of what life is about.

Caroline's story was about the riches that were really rags and the rags that were really riches.

She told how giving up the big job, with the big salary and big car, made her a nicer and happier person. And how life is now more rewarding because she spends time with those who matter - and how we all have it within us to do the same, if that's what we'd like.

Caroline had the following tips for those looking for a new direction:

1) Find yourself. Do the right things for the right reasons. Value people for what they are and not what they are worth.

2) Find a support network - there is one behind every successful person.

3) Access as much life-skill and personal development as you can.

4) Success doesn't have to be big, small steps take you in the same direction.

5) What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Pain teaches you fortitude and tenacity.

Caroline concluded by saying we have it in ourselves to know what real success is. We can achieve this by being consistent, confident and by acting with integrity.

Motivational words for anyone ready for a big life change with happiness as the end goal.

Ethics are good for business

Keeping up with the news is one of the key jobs of a PR practitioner (a strong grasp of current affairs is essential) and as part of today's review of the papers it is pleasing to see an article in The Times stating that interest in the ethical stance of companies - and what they are giving back to their local communities - is growing. The piece, by Abhijeet Ahluwalia in the Money Matters section of the newspaper, reports that a recent study by the New York-based Reputation Institute found that 73 per cent of consumers in the 15 largest markets in the world are willing to recommend companies they believe have a positive stance on social responsibility.

The Reputation Institute has been able to rank the world's most reputable companies (these include Microsoft, Google, BMW and Walt Disney) and charitable donations have a large part to play in how high an organisation is listed.

The results of the survey add credence to the discussions we regularly have with clients about building corporate social responsibility into the very heart of an organisation's business strategy. What stands out to me is that the article also points out that not every business (or sector) is good at communicating their good work, making it hard for consumers to understand what their charitable claims really mean. Of course, that's where we can help...


A proud father says...

A little while back, Sarah Hall Consulting Limited made a donation to The Sunshine Fund which enabled an autistic ten year old here in the North East to have his own iPad. Shown below is the lovely message received from his family. As you can see, a relatively small amount of money can go a long, long way to making someone's life a little better. If you'd like to get involved or donate, you can find out more here: Please give whatever you can - thank you. Hi Sarah,

My name is Bill, proud father to our 10 year old son Fynn. Fynn was diagnosed last year with autism spectrum disorder and dyslexia and that he is at a 5 year olds educational level. This didn't come as a shock to myself and my wife as unfortunately we knew there was something wrong with Fynn's learning ability from an early age as we have 3 other lovely kids so we picked up that something wasn't quite right. The good thing to come from the diagnosis was Fynn now has 26 hours statemented help at school.

Unfortunately after working at Rio Tinto Alcan for the past 12 years I was recently made redundant when the smelter closed. I like to think every cloud has a silver lining as at the moment I am able to spend quality time with Fynn and the rest of my family outside of school as he absolutely loves fishing for which I have recently bought him a license to fish on the river Coquet wish he loves and from a social point of view it fetches Fynn on as I can sit and discuss things with him on a 1 to 1 basis.

Your very kind donation to the Evening Chronicle Sunshine Fund is greatly appreciated, as it has enabled us to purchase an IPad for Fynn which is fantastic as he now has 'apps' which help him with his dyslexia and he has came on 'leaps and bounds' in the last few weeks of getting it.

You should be very proud of yourself for the money you have donated as our son wouldn't be in the position he is now educationally without you as we couldn't afford an IPad.

We cannot thank you enough, the world needs more nice people like yourself.

Lots of love

The Griffiths family X

For anyone that has ever wished for a healthy baby

One of the children at Hadrian School plays with their iPadLast Friday I got to meet Ant & Dec. However - surprising as this may sound and lovely as they were - that wasn't the highlight of the night. By a long shot, that was being sung to by pupils of Hadrian School in Newcastle, all of whom have special educational needs. I've never heard a better rendition of a Take That song. I was highly moved and filled with joy all at once.

The event was organised by The Sunshine Fund, which provides specialist equipment to children with disabilities across the North East, and for which I am about to become a trustee. Enquiries to the charity have risen 35% this year due to the recession so its fundraising efforts have never been more important or needed.

Hearing about how much equipment costs families in need is sobering indeed. Those needing trikes, IT equipment, wheelchairs, profiling beds and sensory equipment to give their child the best quality of life, face bills of thousands of pounds. As such, without access to The Sunshine Fund grants, many go without. That can mean children and families never leaving the house, no independence for the children as they grow and a very limited existence for all concerned.

As part of the evening, we watched a DVD of a family brave enough to talk honestly about their experience of having a disabled child. Like all parents, they had hoped for a healthy baby and after a normal pregnancy, that's what they expected. Sadly that was not to be and while their family is full of love, laughter and real strength, they also face daily challenges that most of us can't possibly imagine.

So this is a little plea for help. It's a hard environment out there, especially for charities. But if you can, please consider donating to The Sunshine Fund. There are lots of ways to do this; from participating in events and texting cash donations to becoming a corporate sponsor. You'll have my thanks - but most of all, your donation, no matter how small, will change the life of someone local. There can surely be no better reward than that.

Here are a few case studies worth reading: £1,030 would provide a trike to a boy aged 3 from Morpeth who has Cerebral Palsy.  The little boy is unable to sit independently, crawl or walk without assistance of an adult and unable to use a traditional bike.  The trike will be custom made with the supports needed and would allow the boy to play and be mobile with family and friends, it would also help his physical fitness and help with co-ordination.

£2,079 would provide a standing frame to a boy aged 10 from Newcastle who has White Matter Disorder and sensory and hearing impairments.  This equipment will allow him to stand alone and be mobile around the home, the boy has recently had an operation and now really requires this equipment to get him motivated to walk and to help stretch his muscles, it will help him to be more independent.

£330 would provide a iPad to a teenage boy aged 15 from Annitsford who has Autism.  The boy is very motivated by computers and the internet and his family would like this equipment to help him to do his school work at the home, he is currently struggling and falling behind in educational activities.  He uses an iPad at school which he uses confidently and has helped structure his daily routine, this is what the family would like to do at home.

Power to the People - live blog from the CIPR Northern Conference

Today is the CIPR Northern Conference and I'll be live blogging throughout the event. The day has already kicked off with opening addresses from CIPR North East chair Chris Taylor, the CIPR's CEO Jane Wilson and President Elect Stephen Waddington. Among their brief speeches were calls for practitioners to increase their CPD efforts, to engage further with the Institute and for people to play their part in improving its reputation.

First up in terms of sessions is a talk from Brian Cathcart, founder of the Hacked Off campaign.

Here's what I'm taking from his presentation:

- the change in the newspaper industry is a clear example of power to the people (change instigated in the wake of cases brought by the McCanns & many others in response to mining of personal data) - there was a collective failure of responsibility across national press and this abuse of press power has created a big problem for democracy - exposing the large corporations behind the mass press intrusion has not been easy due to the sheer power held by these bodies - press scandals happened repeatedly over the years with heartfelt promises for change. The change never came and the pattern had to be broken. People power achieved this - the campaign has never been about gagging the press as its freedom is wholeheartedly supported - the Milly Dowler exposé was the straw that broke the camel's back for the public. Hacked Off launched a petition that week and support was unprecedented. Those who signed up are still involved & even provide ongoing funding - the voice of the victims has played an important part in Hacked Off's success. Previous campaigns had very little public engagement. Having people to repeatedly tell their story remains invaluable - where before the press was like a megaphone with people unable to respond, the digital world has changed this. People can engage & make their views known online and continue to do so - the public forum for the Leveson enquiry allowed the sheer extent of the press abuse to be unveiled - the Royal Charter approved by Parliament embodies the findings of the public enquiry at the behest of government and is backed by the public - it is therefore a solution that meets the requirements - the Charter has not been approved by Privy Council because Pressed Off have put forward a separate Charter which is currently being considered. A decision on this is expected soon. Hacked Off sees the new version as something that restricts press justice on a breathtaking scale and hopes the alternative Charter will be rejected - at Hacked Off the fight goes on.

What money can't buy - ethics and actions that change lives

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 09.42.04There are many reasons why corporate social responsibility is important but here at Sarah Hall Consulting we always like to think of it in the simplest of terms - everyone wants to deal with businesses which have a conscience, act ethically and have a positive impact within their local communities. It's something often discussed with our clients and we certainly practice what we preach on an ethical level by subscribing to the CIPR's Code of Conduct. What's more, I am co-chair of the CIPR's Professional Practices Committee, which considers disciplinary matters relating to members, reinforcing how seriously we take it.

Wherever we can, the team act as mentors to younger generations coming through and support charities - you'll have seen on this blog, the fundraising carried out for the Miscarriage Association and Mind just last year.

This year, we are fundraising for The Sick Children's Trust by running in the Great North Run but our greatest focus is on the Evening Chronicle's Sunshine Fund, which supplies specialized equipment to children with disabilities. It's an amazing charity which quite literally changes families' lives for the better in situations that often look quite bleak.

I sit on the committee for the Sunshine Fund's annual Sunflower Ball which takes place every Autumn. The reason for mentioning this is that the organisers use this as a mechanism for fundraising through ticket sales and auction prizes. So this is a plea for help. Auction prizes are both needed and very gratefully received and already lined up are a weekend away in this lovely cottage as donated by Tent's Pitch, a double page spread in NE Times magazine and some goodies from the owners of Escape Boutique and Mitchell's Menswear in Whitley Bay. Do you have something you could also donate, especially something 'money can't buy'? If you do, we'd love to hear from you. Every prize sold, however small, makes a big difference to a child near you.

If you'd like more information, please check out the Sunshine Fund's website, contact Clare Savory on 0191 201 6068 / or give us a call. Thank you very much.