Top Tips : social media content to build your brand
Radiant Cleaners : a cleaning agency with a social mission
The Good Times Celebrating the organisations and projects making a difference across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire
Welcome As usual, putting this edition to bed has been squeezed in between various projects including providing PR support to the inspirational Beverley Burton, who’s just published her second book ‘equipped2succeed’ - the definitive toolkit for realising your goals in life. I'm also providing communications support to Guy Taylor Associates, an architects firm that specialises in heritage restoration and works with charities and the public sector (and much more besides). It was a privilege to visit the Sharewear depot just before Christmas to photograph project volunteers who tirelessly sort through the sacks of donated items. The place is positively bursting with joy and love, with a number of the volunteers telling me that Sharewear is their ‘family’. Find out more about this forward-thinking charity on pages 4 - 5. A visit to the Radiant Cleaners headquarters was equally uplifting; my chat with employee Andrew Lowe left me in no doubt that a sense of purpose, belonging and feeling valued are vital ingredients for happiness in the workplace. Read Kate Partlow's feature on Radiant Cleaners on pages 8 - 9. Sadly (for us), Kate secured her 'dream job' providing communications support to the City Hearts charity just before Christmas. We wish her all the very best of luck. If you have any ideas for future features or want to contribute a ‘Hot Topic’ article I’d love to hear from you. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Happy reading! Kate Dawson, Editor
Contents p 4-5 How the Sharewear Clothing Scheme is helping give people back their dignity P6 Spotlight on: Association of Chairs 2
P7 Hot Topic: commentary on the government's handling of migrants arriving in Calais in December and the media's reaction Copyright : crystaleyemedia 123rf p8 -9 How Radiant Cleaners, a Nottingham-based social enterprise, is helping people facing barriers to employment make a fair wage.
p10 Top Tips for creating social media content that will build your charity's brand
Contributors Kate Partlow, First-class (hons) PR and media graduate, budding journalist and avid reader. Using her writing skills for the greater good. Read her feature on Radiant Cleaners on pages 8 -9
THE GOOD TIMES is produced by Kate Dawson, a freelance communications consultant working as Well Read PR. The opinions, views and values expressed by contributors to THE GOOD TIMES are those of the authors of that content and do not necessarily represent my opinions, views or values. Nothing in the magazine constitutes advice on which you should rely. It is provided for general information purposes only. I do not accept liability for products or services offered by third parties. Links to third party websites are provided solely for your convenience. THE GOOD TIMES has not reviewed these third party websites and does not control and is not responsible for these websites or their content or availability. We therefore do not endorse or make any representations about them, or any material found on them, or any results that may be obtained from using them. If you decide to access any of the third party websites linked to THE GOOD TIMES, you do so entirely at your own risk.
Sharewear Clothing Scheme
helping people take back control of their lives by Kate Dawson
Whilst many of us have wardrobes bulging with items of clothes that we no longer wear or which no longer fit and despite the rise of cheaper clothing manufacture creating a socalled ‘disposable fashion’ industry, thousands of people a year in Nottingham are still dependent on free clothing provided by the Sharewear Clothing Scheme. Louise Cooke, who founded the initiative in 2014 says that it’s impossible to quantify the scale of the problem, but since setting up Sharewear as a weekly drop-in from the back of a church in Bestwood Park, the number of referrals has grown from a few hundred in the first year, to 2,000 in 2016, 4,000 in 2018, with a total of 13,000 visits (including repeat visits) since its inception.
©James Lane and Huw Nicholls 2018
Above: Bridget sorting donated children's clothing according to gender and age
“The problem is that people can’t even afford charity shops now and it can be expensive to keep buying clothes for little ones, as they grow out of them so quickly,” explained Louise.
“They provided me and my son, (who was only four years old at the time), with the clothes we desperately needed, as we only had the clothes we were wearing and they weren’t suitable for the weather here.”
The people who access Sharewear are facing various challenges: many are living on a meagre asylum seeker allowance, others may be homeless, and many are raising children on a pittance of an income. Bridget, pictured, found out about Sharewear via the Nottingham Refugee Forum, soon after arriving in the UK from Africa in 2014.
Bridget now volunteers at the project twice a week, helping to sort out the clothes and serve customers.
“Louise has such a big heart to set up Sharewear. It changes people’s lives so much. The problem is that people need to eat first and then have no money left for clothes. Lots of people cry when they come in, they just can’t believe what is available for them,” said Bridget.
Beneficiaries are referred to the charity by referral agencies – social services, children’s centres, health teams, as well as food banks and other charities working with those facing poverty, such as the Nottingham Arimathea Trust. People who fit the criteria are given a Sharewear voucher. The ‘depot’ is laid out like a shop and people can choose items and try them on before taking them away. The charity also delivers consignments of clothes to charities such as the YMCA hostels in Mansfield and Nottingham; Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum and the Arches project. “One lady came in looking for a winter coat as she’d been sharing a coat with her husband. When she found something her face just lifted as her self-worth come back.” Florence, 10 years with xxxxx
“We get quite a lot of people coming to us after release from prison. In one case the gentleman had returned home to find that all his clothes had been sold by his ‘friends’! We also support a lot of women who have fled domestic violence and have left their clothes behind. These clothes help people get jobs… accommodation… and enable them to turn their backs on negative networks,” said Louise. The charity also works with the Red Cross to provide clothes for victims of house-fires, as well as those affected by flooding as a partner of the Emergency Response Unit for Central England. Sharewear has attracted the support of celebrities such as Maxine Peake, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Sara Pascoe who have shared photos of themselves on social media wearing the charity’s ‘nothing to wear’ TShirt. 5
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Above: Louise Cooke amongst the donated clothes
The charity launched ‘Manuary’ in the new year to encourage men to clear out their old clobber and help provide the menswear that is so desperately needed. Louise shares some of what she's learnt on her journey: Harness the support of volunteers. They are your lifeblood. Don’t overcomplicate things beyond the need for safeguarding. Don’t duplicate support already available. Could you help an existing organisation? If there’s still a need, work out which charities have allied goals and work in partnership with them. • Don’t become dependent on goodwill with 'in kind' premises. When you have built a reputation, take a leap of faith and lease premises of your own. People are now starting to take us more seriously now that we are not seen as a little project based in a church.
First Taste: bridging the generational divide To find out more visit: sharewearclothingscheme.org
Spotlight on... Josie Hinton, Association of Chairs The Association of Chairs was set up five years ago to support Chairs and Vice Chairs of charities and non-profit organisations to lead their boards effectively and ensure delivery of their organisation’s mission. We interviewed Josie Hinton, Programme Manager, about the work of the Association. 1. How does the Association of Chairs (AoC) support chairs of charities? We support Chairs of charities by providing them with the opportunity to build the appropriate skills, knowledge and confidence for their chairing role. We know that chairing can be lonely and that learning from others in a similar role can be invaluable.
Being able to energise the board is important; being diplomatic and having a sense of humour can also help you manage different personalities and bring out the best in people. 4. How do you support Chairs that have a problematic board? We recently produced a briefing for Chairs called ‘Managing difficult board dynamics.’ This briefing helps Chairs create the conditions for board members to work together productively. In addition, as part of our Beacon programme, as of March, we will be running workshops across England on ‘Managing relationships and board dynamics’.
2. What kind of support do you provide? We produce publications that provide guidance for Chairs on core aspects of their role and practical tips for addressing some of the typical challenges they face. We also run free and paid for events on a wide range of topics of interest to Chairs.
5. Why do you feel strongly about working in the charity sector? I feel very committed to working for certain causes in the sector and helping them to be more effective through good governance.
Our Beacon Programme provides workshops (also available as a live webinar) and online resources tailored specifically to the needs of Chairs of smaller charities (with an annual income under £1 million). The workshops cover topics such as chairing board meetings effectively, understanding effective financial governance and working with your CEO or equivalent.
6. Is there a particular book, person or philosophy that has inspired you in your work? I have been inspired by the work of Viktor Frankl, the Austrian neurologist and psychologist. His books have taught me the 3. What makes a good charity Chair? importance of being able to find meaning and We have identified that there are certain purpose in whatever I do, as well as in the behaviours and practices that help or hinder a events that have shaped my life. Chair's effectiveness. We know that being able to empower others is important. You can find out more and join the Association 6
of Chairs (for England and Wales) here: www.associationofchairs.org.uk
Hot topic People in boats According to editorial in The Independent the ‘major incident’ declared by Home Secretary Sajid Javid at the end of December 2018 - relating to supposedly unprecedented numbers of ‘migrants’ (I prefer simply calling them 'people') arriving in boats at Dover - was a ruse to further his party leadership campaign. Meanwhile, from the comfort of her Good Morning sofa Kate Garraway sparred with Kent Anti-Racism Network Bridget Chapman (or as the Express calls her: '‘angry pro-migrant activist") about the question of ‘What is your limit?…How many people should we allow in – to clothe and feed?’.
their lowest levels in five years. Crossings are deadlier than ever, often orchestrated by smuggling gangs that have no qualms in throwing overboard any passengers whose families won’t cough up. Good to know then that the EU has an Action Plan against Migrant Smuggling …oh, hang on a minute.
It's not necessary for me to describe the horrors these poor mortals are fleeing, the dangers they face en route, or the alternative of being holed up in a squalid camp in Calais. But what if Kate G has a point? With rising austerity, over 4 million children living in poverty (according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation) and a housing crisis, surely the UK needs to get its own house in order before inviting in people from other countries? Indeed, let’s send in the Navy, spend more on border control and wash our hands of this unsavoury business. We’ve got more pressing issues to deal with like the audacity of Gregg’s to launch a vegan sausage roll (good job Piers Morgan for inadvertently boosting sales).
Whilst the Brexit deal hangs in the balance (at the time of writing) and our Home Secretary takes a ‘Dad’s Army’ approach to handling the issue, it’s the humanitarian charities that are left to pick up the pieces and conceive intelligent solutions. Amnesty International posits eight ways to solve the refugee crisis including creating safe routes to sanctuary, combating racism and adhering to the principle of asylum as a human right.
OF COURSE, I’m just playing devil’s advocate, but it's easy to see how the influx of refugees continues to be spun as a latent threat to our economy and society at large. In actual fact, the BBC reports that the numbers of refugees entering the EU are at
So, we’re back to Bridget Chapman's stance: “In the 7th biggest economy in the world we can afford to look after people that need it...How many people need help, we need to be helping them.” (sic) It will require dedicated resources and joined-up thinking with our EU counterparts. I’m not talking about opening the flood gates, but about coming up with a global solution which is humanitarian at its core. Idealistic? You bet. Who’s with me? Kate Dawson is a communications consultant specialising in the third sector. www.wellreadpr.com
social enterprise offers fair wage and fresh start for the unemployed by Kate Partlow
Over 1.3 million people in the UK are unemployed, but for many the odds of getting a job are stacked against them due to problems with mental health, lack of confidence due to prolonged absence from the workplace, poor qualifications, or contact with the criminal justice system. Radiant Cleaners is a social enterprise, based in Nottingham, that offers employment to individuals facing barriers to employment and supports them to take back control of their lives.
Matt Parfitt, founder Radiant Cleaners
Animal care is integral to learning at Turner Farm
Radiant Cleaners is part ofxxxxx Grace Enterprises Florence, 10 years with and is the first of what will be a collection of social enterprises committed to fair employment. Its founder, Matt Parfitt, left his job as a primary school teacher in 2007 after noticing individuals from his local church had gaps on their CV’s that left them unemployed.
I ran a gardening company for 10 years, but this did not always suit people’s lifestyles, for example those with childcare responsibilities and it was not easy to scale up. It became apparent that we could create more jobs, and have a more diverse team, if we started a reliable cleaning business instead.”
Matt received a grant of £20,000 from Grace Church Nottingham, located on Castle Boulevard, which he used to start up Radiant Cleaners in 2017. He employs 14 people who provide cleaning services to organisations ranging from construction companies, to charities, to software producers across Nottingham.
Matt believes paying the Real Living Wage is simply the right thing to do and a more equitable distribution of money. Being given the opportunity to get back into employment has not only given employees increased financial stability, but has improved their sense of wellbeing. One of Radiant Cleaners’ employees, Helen, had struggled with finding work, and then working on the minimum wage after leaving prison 10 years ago. She has now become the Operations Manager.
Matt explains “I felt called to be a good employer and to help those deemed ‘hard-to-hire’.
The difference feedback between surviving and "It's the from this young living. It’s given me back my dignity,” person says it all said Helen
Matt believes other organisations can use his business model to be better employers. “The focus for us has always been about treating our employees better. As a social enterprise we still make a profit, but in a fair and reasonable way. Often companies actively choose to work with us because we are fair employers and this chimes with their values and ethos,” said Matt
Andrew Lowe works for Radiant Cleaners 8 -13 hours a week cleaning construction premises and churches around Nottingham, including Grace Church.
HR Software development company Mitrefinch see the value of partnering with Radiant Cleaners. Matthew Jenkins, CEO says: “Radiant Cleaners' work in giving employment opportunities to those who face employment barriers is vital. Their vision for Animal care is integral to learning at Turner Farm transforming lives is something we can really get behind”.
Florence, 10 years with xxxxx Florence, 10 , shows Sandra, 91 some wild flowers
Andrew Lowe, Radiant Cleaners employee
Matt Parfitt shares what he’s learnt Animal care is integral to learning at Turner Farm from setting up Radiant Cleaners:
“The entire package at Radiant Cleaners is different from other cleaning agencies that I’ve worked for. First and foremost you’re treated with respect. They are fair and down to earth. It is one of the best companies I’ve worked for,” enthused Andrew.
Listening to people is key. We support our employees by actually listening to what they say. If you truly believe in something you’ll feel confident telling other people. Humility is good but don’t be so humble that you aren’t shouting Animal care is integral to learning at Turner Farm about your organisation publicly.
A key aspect of the Radiant Cleaners' ethos is recognising that they work with people facing a variety of challenges. "If someone has difficulty in the morning, we won’t put them on a 6am start. We also offer stepped contracts, which allow employees to build up hours and get to know the team rather than go straight in full-time," explained Matt.
Apply for support programmes such as Thrive, run by UnLtd. Their help on the legal side, with marketing and monitoring impact has been invaluable.
To find out more visit www.radiantcleaners.co.uk
Top tips for creating social media content that builds your charity's brand Many charities and social enterprises are realising the benefits of social media, but for some organisations with limited skills and resources it can feel like social media is always the poor relation compared to more pressing activities. Here are my Top Tips for taking the hassle out of social media and to help you up your game in 2019. 1. Get your staff, volunteers, beneficiaries / service users on board with your social media channels. Advertise your social handles everywhere, ask them to like /follow you and reward them by featuring them in posts! 2. Post content which is relevant or interesting to your target audiences. Okay, I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but do you really know how successful your posts are? Monitor 'likes' and 'shares' to see which posts are popular and post more of them! 3. Join in conversations (especially on Twitter). See what's trending and use the relevant hashtag (if it's genuinely relevant to your work). Join 'Twitchats', or if you've got a big enough following, organise one yourself.
4. Social media can feel like a crowded party, but if you look around, listen and bring something fresh to the conversation you'll soon start making friends and influencing people. Remember you are an expert at what you do - share the evidence of the impact you're having, use facts and figures to back up your arguments and remember that nothing beats a powerful image or uplifting quote for shareability.
5 Create a social media calander at least a month in advance so you are not just posting 'random acts of marketing'. Include 'tent pole' days (such as Christmas and Valentine's Day) as well as awareness days relevant to your area of work. Use a social media scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Social Pilot to schedule posts in advance.
Kate Dawson is a PR and a Communications Consultant dedicated to supporting charities, social enterprises and the public sector. Visit her website at www.wellreadpr.com 10
"When you wake up in the morning, wake your forgotten and forsaken dreams up as well, wake them up like an insisting rooster!â€? - Mehmet Murat ildandd
Bridget and Backo, Sharewear Clothing Scheme volunteers
"When you wake up in the morning, wake your forgotten and forsaken dreams up as well, wake them up like an insisting rooster!” - Mehmet Murat ildandd “It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ― Mother Theresa
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