Monthly Archives: September 2013

Think twice before you get the needle, says Laserase Bolton

Our client Laserase Bolton skin health227167_194866970560144_2319809_n centre is welcoming proposals by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to update its public health guidance on needle and syringe programmes, to prevent the spread of diseases like HIV and hepatitis C.

The growth in popularity of Botox and dermal fillers has led to an increase in needle use by unregulated salons and people at home, often without proper guidelines being followed. This has led to fears that more blood-borne diseases could be spread through dirty needles and syringes.

Julie Kershaw, Clinic Manager at Laserase Bolton, said: “Everyone who uses needles at Laserase Bolton is medically trained and no needles are used twice. However, we are extremely concerned about the risks of blood contamination from dirty needles being used in unregulated clinics and for home skin treatments.

“We would urge all those considering Botox and other injectable treatments to make sure their treatment provider is regulated with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) like Laserase Bolton.”

Julie adds that Laserase Bolton disposes of all its needles and syringes using a specialist medical sharps disposal service.

More information about the new guidance, which is open for consultation, is available at: http://www.nice.org.uk/newsroom/pressreleases/ConsultsUpdatePHGuidanceLimitingHarmCausedInjectingDrugs.jsp

Official opening of new Third Sector First centre in Dumfries

Third Sector First logo

Third Sector First is officially opening its brand new centre in Dumfries on Friday 27 September, providing a unique space for charities, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and individual volunteers to work and meet.

The centre at 16 Queensberry Street will give voluntary and community organisations across Dumfries and Galloway a modern office location in which they can meet and network with other similar organisations. Within ground floor premises, the new centre has a high profile shop front and excellent provision for disabled access.

Third Sector First is funded by the Scottish Government and Dumfries and Galloway Council to support and develop a strong third sector. The third sector is made up of organisations that have a social purpose and exist to improve the lives of people and communities. This includes community groups, charities, social enterprises and cooperatives and everyone who works or volunteers for them.

Across Dumfries and Galloway there are literally thousands of people working or volunteering for third sector organisations. Until now these organisations haven’t had as strong a voice as they should and Third Sector First is all about changing that.

Third Sector First is holding an Open Day at its brand new centre and all are welcome to come along.

When: Friday 27 September, 10am – 3pm
Where: Third Sector First, 16 Queensberry Street, Dumfries DG1 1EX

Putting the Third Sector First

Third Sector First logo

Third Sector First supports the third sector in Dumfries and Galloway

We are pleased to announce that we are to work with Third Sector First in Dumfries and Galloway to help develop its communications over the next couple of months.

Third Sector First is funded by the Scottish Government and Dumfries and Galloway Council to support and develop a strong third sector, develop social enterprise, develop volunteers and volunteering, and connect the third sector to community planning.

Over the next two months we will be working with Third Sector First to raise its profile amongst charities, voluntary and community organisations. We will be working with the in-house team there to develop a website for its forthcoming conference for the Third Sector, Connect2013, as well as offering communications and media training.

Ethos public relations has worked with a wide range of Third Sector organisations over the years, including charities, co-operatives and social enterprises and is well placed to help Third Sector First get the message across that Dumfries and Galloway has a dynamic, varied Third Sector, that delivers real value and benefit for local people.

Find out more about Third Sector First here.

 

Research shows consumers prefer longer and cheaper ‘payday’ loans from credit unions

FPF_Print_Logo_CMYKAffordable short term borrowing through a credit union has the potential to be an effective way of diverting borrowers away from high cost lenders and give them welcome flexibility about how to repay according to a new report.

Can payday loan alternatives be affordable and viable?, which was funded by Friends Provident Foundation and The Barclays Community Finance Fund and produced by The Financial Inclusion Centre, evaluated a pilot “payday loan” product offered by London Mutual Credit Union over 12 months. The results showed that an affordable short term loan product from a credit union has the potential to save significant amounts for borrowers and encourage them to spread payments more affordably over a longer period than is usually available with this type of product.

While most payday loans require the borrower to repay the full amount plus interest within a month, this pilot scheme found that consumer preference was to repay over three months, with 59% of applicants choosing this payment term and only 29% asking to repay in one month.

And many consumers attracted to the credit union by the short term loan product transitioned to other credit union services. 331 new members who joined the credit union to access this product went on to place a combined total of £18,000 in savings accounts, and 27% went on to take a longer term loan with the credit union – rising to 40% after 6 months’ membership and 52% after 9 months with the credit union.

By borrowing through the credit union instead of a high cost payday lender, 1,219 people collectively saved some £145,000 in interest charges alone, equivalent to almost £119 per borrower.

The research showed that short term lending through a credit union is an effective way of diverting borrowers away from high cost lenders, with over two-thirds of those surveyed saying they would be unlikely to borrow from payday companies again. It also revealed that offering short term loans can be financially sustainable for a third sector financial services provider such as a credit union when additional income generation from recruiting new members is taken into account.

Andrew Thompson, Grants Manager at Friends Provident Foundation, said: “We are delighted by the success of the pilot scheme, which demonstrates that it is financially viable for this kind of responsible, affordable lending to be delivered by not-for-profit, member-owned-and-run providers. The model seems to have great potential for wider roll out and we look forward to seeing if credit unions across the country can find a way to offer a similar service.”

According to Transact, the national forum for financial inclusion, which manages the Barclays Community Finance Fund: “The results of the project illustrate that a credit union alternative to payday loans is achievable and can provide affordable forms of short term credit to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. However, this is only the beginning and a good deal more feasibility work will be required before an affordable alternative to payday loans can be made available by credit unions in other parts of the country too.”

Lucky Chandrasekera, Chief Executive of London Mutual Credit Union, said: “An increase in the use of payday loans by those already in debt, as well as the growing number of our own members turning to this form of short-term credit, persuaded us to develop an affordable alternative. Following the success of the pilot, we plan to roll out the service to many more potential customers.”

Mark Lyonette, Chief Executive of ABCUL, the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd, said: “By making services as convenient and accessible as possible, credit unions can attract many more people away from high cost lenders. The Government is investing up to £38 million in the two year Credit Union Expansion Project to support credit unions to develop the systems they need to make attractive services easy to access and encourage people to borrow affordably and manage their finances more effectively.”

Other key findings:

* The affordable short term lending product offered by LMCU proved extremely popular with a total of 6,087 applications received (or 500 each month), asking for just under £1.5 million or an average requested loan amount of £238.

* A total of 2,923 short term loans with a value of £687,757 were distributed over the course of the year-long pilot to 1,219 different borrowers.

* An average of 2.39 short term loans were made to each borrower with 62% becoming repeat borrowers with LMCU. The main reason for taking out the short term loan was to cover utility bills (14%) and home improvements (12%).

* Applicants liked the option of repaying “payday” loans over a longer repayment term. Just 29% of loan applicants wanted to borrow over the traditional one month term, with the majority (59%) opting to repay over three months.

* When surveyed, the primary reason given for borrowing through LMCU was the low cost compared to other payday lenders (66%). Others liked the fact that it was offered by a credit union (19%) together with the longer repayment option (10%).

* Before accessing their first LMCU loan, 74% of surveyed borrowers had taken an average of 3.2 loans over the 12 months before their first payday loan from LMCU. Worryingly, 17% of these had taken six or more loans.

To download a copy of the report go to: www.friendsprovidentfoundation.org/payday-lending-through-a-credit-union


New video launched

Still from the 8th Day video

We have just launched an online video for the 8th Day Co-operative

Our client Eighth Day has gone live with a new video which was directed by Ethos public relations and filmed by Andreas Andrews Photography.

Eighth Day decided to commission a video for their website, which was filmed during Independents’ Day, an annual event to promote the UK’s independent retailers, to showcase the breadth of products and services they offer.

Eighth Day café and shop on Oxford Road in Manchester stocks what is arguably the largest selection of organic and natural vegetarian and vegan foods in the North West. It has been trading for over forty years and was recently been awarded ‘Best Independent Retailer’ in the Natural & Organic Awards 2013.

Ethos public relations has over 16 years’ experience of offering communications, marketing and media relations services to a wide range of clients and we have produced a number of online videos. To find out more about our video production services and to see other videos we have produced click here.

An online video is a great way for your organisations to share its key messages and an informative, well-produced and fun video can really engage your key audiences.

If you would like to watch the Eighth Day video click here. If you would like to find out more about how we could help your organisation with an online video, please contact us.