Author Archives: Ethos public relations news

Ethos 20 logo

New dimensions to PR: celebrating our first 20 years

Ethos public relations was established in Manchester in April 1998 and is still going strong. Here, Shaun, one of our directors, looks at some of the changes we have seen in that time and considers a new opportunity for the future.

Ethos 20 logo

Over the last 20 years, there has been a transformation in the way news is communicated, not just in how people access the latest stories, but in terms of how organisations reach out to journalists.

One of our first commissions was to write an article for a trade journal. The article was printed and published and that was that. It wasn’t posted on a website; it wasn’t shared on social media; it wasn’t ‘liked’ and ‘linked to’, forever present in the online ether. No doubt the article remains in a dusty archive somewhere, but for all intents and purposes it was never seen again.

In those days, it wasn’t unusual for a PR agency to put a press release in the post to a journalist, in anticipation that it would be used days, weeks or months ahead. Nowadays, like all of us, journalists track websites and social media channels for the latest stories – which can circle the globe within minutes – while doing their best to sniff out fake news!

As a result, most of our PR work is now online – writing and managing websites; handling social media accounts for clients; producing online newsletters, adverts and marketing materials and so on. To survive the many changes in our industry over the last 20 years, we have had to be flexible and adaptable, and no doubt there are many more changes to come.

For example, these days printing now means something different to us – something almost inconceivable 20 years ago – and that’s three-dimensional printing. Our latest client in our 20th anniversary year produces recycled 3D printer filament which can be used to manufacture a wide range of household objects, practical items, ornaments and small mechanical parts.

We’ve all seen the startling headlines about body parts being produced by 3D printers, as well as cars, houses, clothes and food, and although it might be some time before 3D printing replaces more traditional production methods, one thing’s for sure, it’s here to stay and the potential is huge.

For us, it seems, printing has come full circle. As printed publications, which once provided our bread and butter, have declined and moved into the online world, a new form of printing – 3D printing – has emerged to fill the gap.

And finally, talking of new dimensions, from day one we had a unique, ethical approach to PR, something unheard of in the late Nineties’ world of spin, and this is something we have stuck to over the last 20 years – not just because it sounded good, but because it was what we believed. Ironically perhaps for a PR agency, it is this authenticity, which goes beyond words, that has been the anchor of what we have achieved.

London Capital Credit Union welcomes largest ever customer satisfaction survey

London Capital Credit Union, a not-for-profit co-operative which provides savings and low cost loans to people living, working or studying in Barnet, Camden, City of London, Hackney, Haringey and Islington, has welcomed a new report which found significant approval for the services offered by credit unions.

Martin Groombridge

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union

The largest ever survey of credit union customers, published by Financial Inclusion Centre, found that 81% of members across the country were extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their credit union, while 84% said they would recommend a friend or family member. This compares to a recent Which? survey showing that mainstream banks’ average overall customer satisfaction score was only 68%.

These results support the feedback received from London Capital Credit Union’s own members. Results from the Credit Union’s 2017 annual survey show a very high overall level of customer satisfaction, with an average score of 9 out of a possible 10.

London Capital Credit Union is one of the fastest growing credit unions in the capital, with over 15,000 members and outstanding lending of nearly £12 million.

Financial Inclusion Centre research also demonstrated just how important the broad range of financial services being delivered by these not-for-profit financial providers are, with the majority of respondents using their credit union as an affordable and fair source of borrowing – giving them an invaluable alternative to high-cost credit such as payday loans, rent-to-own firms and door-step lenders.

Credit unions work hard to help their members understand financial issues and members are shown to score well compared to the general population on a range of financial capability measures, saying they feel they have their finances under control and are confident in dealing with money matters.

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union, said: “The findings of the largest ever credit union customer satisfaction survey back up what we see at London Capital Credit Union and show that most members are extremely satisfied with the services provided.

“With the current pressures on household finances, credit unions such as ours provide an essential lifeline for many, offering affordable loans in time of need and supporting people to develop a saving habit. At London Capital Credit Union, we believe it is important to help people make the most of their finances and this survey shows the hugely positive contribution that credit unions make to our communities.”

Mick McAteer, Co-Director of Financial Inclusion Centre, added: “These results are very encouraging and go to show that credit unions are highly regarded by those that use them, with higher satisfaction rates than mainstream banks.”

A copy of the report, ‘An Insight into Credit Union Membership’, can be found here.

New plastic film recycling scheme for Powys communities

Town and Community Councils in Powys are introducing a new recycling scheme, developed by Welshpool-based charity Cae Post, to deal with unwanted plastic film.

Mayor of Brecon, Councillor Ieuan Williams, at the launch of the  plastic film recycling scheme with Chair of Cae Post, John Harrington.

Mayor of Brecon, Councillor Ieuan Williams, at the launch of the plastic film recycling scheme with Chair of Cae Post, John Harrington.

Following the decision by Powys County Council to stop the collection and recycling of plastic film, waste and recycling experts Cae Post were approached by a number of Community and Town Councils to see if they could fill the gap.

Although Powys County Council no longer offers recycling collections for plastic film and suggests disposing of it with household refuse, stretchy plastic film items, such as carrier bags, magazine wrappers, bread bags, frozen food bags, cling film and bubble wrap, can be recycled.

Cae Post is working with eight councils in Powys, including Brecon Town Council, to roll out its new film recycling scheme and the results to date have been very encouraging.

Mayor of Brecon, Councillor Ieuan Williams, said: “We are delighted with the response to our new plastic film recycling point that has been set up outside the Co-op in Brecon. Although we were originally expecting to empty the bin once a month, demand has been so great that we are now emptying it at least once a fortnight. This shows that the people of Brecon recognise the importance of recycling plastic film and that there is a real need for the service. We would like to thank Cae Post for setting it up.”

John Harrington, Chair of Cae Post said: “We are pleased to be working with councils in Powys, such as Brecon Town Council, to manage plastic film recycling for their communities.

“The environmental impact of plastic film should not be underestimated. Studies suggest that plastic bags, for example, can take anywhere between 20 and 1,000 years to degrade, if they degrade at all in modern landfill sites. In fact, many countries around the world have now banned them. So, if we are going to use items made from plastic film, it is important that, as a society, we do what we can to recycle them.

“At Cae Post, we believe it is vital that these items do not end up in general waste and so we are pleased to offer a collection service for communities in Powys, as well as for businesses, charities and other organisations.”

While it is true that plastic film can be difficult and expensive to sort from other materials by mechanical means, Cae Post has maintained its manual sorting capacity and so is happy to offer this service.

John Harrington added: “As a charity and social enterprise, Cae Post has a mission to tackle disadvantage and create opportunity through environmental initiative. By using Cae Post to recycle plastic film, communities in Powys are helping us to fulfil our social objectives, providing work opportunities for disabled people and those who are disadvantaged in the jobs market.”

The other Community and Town Councils in Powys that are trialling the scheme include Banwy, Castle Caereinion, Dwyriw, Llangunllo, Llangynidr, Llanwrtyd Wells and Trewern.

If your community group or organisation would like to find out more about plastic film recycling in Powys, contact Cae Post on 01938 570426 or email info@caepost.co.uk.

New PR package for charity events

Ethos public relations has introduced a new PR package to help charities promote their events.

Director ShauPR for charity eventsn Fisher said: “Ethos public relations is passionate about helping charities, community groups and voluntary organisations get publicity for their activities. This isn’t just because it is our business but because we have a commitment to highlighting the valuable contribution made by charitable and voluntary action.

“Over the years, we have seen, and even attended, a wide range of charitable activities that haven’t been as successful as they could have been. Often this is because of time constraints, a lack of appropriate communication and marketing or simply a lack of organisational capacity.

“For most local charities part of the problem of organising a successful event is budget. Not many voluntary organisations can afford the rates charged by large public relations businesses. But that’s where Ethos public relations can help. As we are committed to helping local community efforts flourish, we are offering a bespoke package for local charities seeking to ensure their events are a success.”

For a set fee of £200 including VAT, Ethos public relations will discuss your event with you and give their opinion on the idea, work with you to ensure it is communicated suitably on your website, Facebook and Twitter, write a press release for your local media and upload it to appropriate listing sites and advise on photography.

Shaun Fisher added: “This whole package should not only help you get more visitors or participants to your charity’s event, but will free up your time so you can focus on the important job of putting the event together.”

Click here to find out more and if you would like to work with Ethos public relations to give your charitable work the boost it deserves, give Shaun a call on 07968 211664 or email info@ethos-pr.com.

Borderless image

Internationally acclaimed Californian choir tours UK

The Starfire Singers, a Methodist youth choir from the United States with an international reputation, are touring the UK this summer and will be performing at a number of venues to raise funds for charity.

Borderless imageEvery few years, the Starfire Singers embark on a summer tour of the UK, arranged by our client Janet Redler Travel & Tourism. The Starfire Singers sing in worship at Los Altos United Methodist Church in Northern California and their musical productions tackle social issues from a Christian perspective. In July and August 2017, they will be performing the original musical Borderless at venues across the country to raise money for local charities.

Borderless is about confronting the places where people feel stuck in life, where people feel trapped by all the demands placed on them by internal and external pressures, and finding a path towards living beyond those borders. The performances include music, song, dance and multimedia.

Janet Redler, Chief Executive of Janet Redler Travel & Tourism, which is arranging the tour, said: “We are delighted to welcome the renowned Starfire Singers to the UK once again. Their thrilling musical production Borderless is sure to entertain audiences around the country while also addressing social issues. The tour will help to raise funds for a number of charitable projects and we would like to welcome people along to enjoy a wonderful evening of entertainment.”

Performances will take place at St Mary Redcliffe Church in Bristol on 26 July, Coventry Central Hall on 28 July, St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh on 31 July, Paisley Methodist Church on 3 August, Wesley Memorial Methodist Church in Epworth, Lincolnshire, on 5 August and Wesley Memorial Church in Oxford on 7 August.

Funds raised from the performances will be donated to a number of charities and Methodist Church initiatives including the New Room Bristol Development Fund, the Open Doors Project at Wesley Memorial Church in Oxford and the Southern Area Hospice in Northern Ireland.

To find out more and for booking details, please visit http://www.janetredlertravelandtourism.co.uk/tours1/starfire-tour-2017/.

Cae Post to distribute recycled 3D printer ink

Cae Post, the Welshpool based environmental social enterprise, has become an exclusive distributor of Refil recycled 3D printer ink.

Recycled 3D printer ink - blueIn an innovative tie up with Rotterdam based Refil BV, Cae Post will distribute Refil’s recycled 3D printer filament to the UK market.

Speaking about the collaboration, Sue Packer, General Manager of Cae Post, said: “Cae Post is well known locally as an innovative supplier of environmentally based services and we are now looking forward to working with Refil to develop the market in recycled plastic filament for 3D printing.”

Casper van der Meer of Refil believes the 3D printing industry is set to boom and said: “3D printing is today’s trendiest industrial revolution. At Refil we aim to make it a sustainable one as well. Why do people continue to use new plastics, when there’s so much old plastic we can re-use?”

Recycled 3D printer ink - blackRefil’s recycled filament is made using old car dashboards or PET bottles and helps to stop some of these plastics ending up in landfill, or worse, in the sea. Recent reports suggest that ‘plastic soup’ could grow at such a rate that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.

3D printing is a relatively new development and is being used to create models in 3D from extruded plastic filament.

Cae Post has championed environmental awareness for over 30 years and provides supported employment opportunities to local people. All profits from its activities are used to support its charitable work locally.

For more information, please visit www.caepost.co.uk.

“Act now to ensure children don’t lose memory of grandparents who were Far East Prisoners of War,” says national charity

COFEPOW logo“Within a generation, children will have forgotten about their grandparents’ suffering as far East Prisoners of War,” warns Paul Watson, chair of national charity COFEPOW (Children and Families of Far East Prisoners of War).

“As World War Two fades into history, young people are in danger of forgetting about the horrific suffering of many of their grandparents and great-grandparents as prisoners of war in the Far East,” he says.

Now, to mark the anniversary of 75 years since the Fall of Singapore in the Second World War, COFEPOW is launching an Education Programme to help ensure youngsters grow up knowing about the huge sacrifice many of their relatives made in the Far East.

Paul Watson says: “One of our functions at COFEPOW is to educate future generations so that our brave ancestors are never forgotten. As a result, we have created this exciting new initiative to help students understand what happened, whilst giving them the opportunity to experience different learning platforms to develop transferable skills for their future – skills such as confidence, teamwork, creativity, communication and working to deadlines.”

Working in teams, students will be tasked with preparing a television news report explaining that the war is over in the Far East and that all those held as prisoners will be released and sent home. In order to prepare their news report, students must find out as much as possible about the life of a Far East Prisoner of War.

Once complete, schools will need to send the filmed news reports on DVD to COFEPOW, who will judge all the entries and choose a winner. Students that take part will receive a Certificate of Achievement and the winning team will receive a special COFEPOW VJ Day 70th Anniversary Commemorative Medal for their school.

Paul Watson adds: “Members of COFEPOW are relatives of those who fought and were held captive in the Far East in World War Two. Whilst many of the prisoners are no longer with us, as relatives we saw first hand the lasting effects that the time in prison camps had on these men and women – both mentally and physically.

“We are all extremely proud of our loved ones for their war effort and we strive to ensure that what they went through will always be remembered and respected. By creating this competition, we feel we are helping the next generation to understand a little bit more about the Forgotten War.”

The programme was prepared in collaboration with Jayne Greene, who is experienced in producing education packages for schools and is a volunteer for COFEPOW.

The COFEPOW National Enterprise Competition for Primary Schools will run from 11th November 2017 (Remembrance Day) to 15th February 2018 (the anniversary of the Fall of Singapore).

If you are a teacher, school governor, or otherwise involved in delivering the national curriculum at primary school level, and would like to find out more about this new initiative, you are invited to attend the launch of the COFEPOW Education Programme at the National Memorial Arboretum on Wednesday 15th February 2017, commencing at 1pm.

To secure your place at the launch, please email COFEPOW Secretary Alan Wills at alanwills@blueyonder.co.uk. To find out more about the project and for schools to enter please visit the COFEPOW website https://www.cofepow.org.uk/schools-competition.

Local banking still very much alive in Scotland

ABCUL Scotland dev stage03Following the sad news that Airdrie Savings Bank is to close, the Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL) has pointed to Scotland’s thriving credit union sector as evidence that local banking is still very much alive and well.

ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette said: “Across Scotland, almost 100 credit unions are providing savings accounts and affordable loans to more than 387,000 people. Last year, the sector’s deposits, lending and assets all grew by 8%, and Scotland has the fourth highest level of credit union membership in Europe.

“Of course, credit unions must keep pace with what consumers expect from their financial service providers, which increasingly means instant access and control of our money via mobile devices.

“For smaller players like credit unions, the infrastructure to deliver this is often out of reach unless we act together to achieve the required scale. That’s why a number of credit unions in Scotland and across Britain are working co-operatively to develop and deliver the products, services and access channels that modern consumers expect.

“This way, credit unions can ensure a competitive, sustainable local banking option is always open to Scottish consumers as part of a healthy, diverse financial services sector.”

The latest figures from the Bank of England (as at 30 June 2016) show there are 99 credit unions in Scotland serving more than 387,000 people, including 56,000 junior savers. Credit union members have savings worth £484 million and are borrowing £296 million, often at lower interest rates than are available for the same loan from other lenders. The Scottish credit union sector’s assets are worth £562 million.

With 7.2% of the Scottish population using a credit union, Scotland has the fourth highest level of credit union membership in Europe, after only the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Poland.

Season’s Greetings 2016

HollyAnother year is almost over and once again we are raising a glass of sherry and tucking into a mince pie as we reflect upon the last 12 months.

Since our move to a new base near Oswestry in Shropshire almost two years ago, Ethos public relations is pleased to be working with a number of local businesses and charities, as well as continuing to support clients across the UK.

The nature of public relations has changed significantly over the last few years and we have adapted to meet these challenges, with much more of our focus now on website management and social media. Of course it is still nice to do traditional media relations and, even today, it is rewarding to see a press release we have written in the newspaper, or listening to an interview we have set up on the radio.

Thank you to all our clients for supporting us in 2016 and we look forward to working with you in the New Year.

We will be closed over the Christmas break from lunchtime on Friday 23rd December until Tuesday 3rd January 2017, but we will of course be checking our emails, social media accounts and text messages, so do stay in touch.

We wish all our clients, suppliers, friends and future clients
Season’s Greetings and a happy 2017!

Future Co-ops Conference 2017

Post Carbon Co-ops logoA conference that takes place in February will be addressing the post carbon landscape from a co-operative perspective.

The conference, entitled Post Carbon Co-ops, aims to bring co-operative activists together with activists from other progressive organisations to debate some of the key issues facing our future.

The current energy bonanza based on fossil fuels cannot go on forever. Climate change reasons apart, fossil fuels are not inexhaustible. New extraction methods such as fracking promise false hope and renewables can never recreate the massive energy surplus that oil, coal and gas have provided.

The post carbon landscape will impact on all areas of everyone’s lives, from access to food and transport, to energy and manufacturing. Post Carbon Co-ops will examine how co-ops can provide solutions.

Dr Mark Simmonds from Co-op Culture, who is one of the keynote speakers at the Future Co-ops conference, said: “In these times of economic uncertainty, resource depletion and climate change, the one thing we can be sure of is that the world will become a very different place in the short to medium term.

“Energy descent, in particular, will increasingly become a fact of life. We need to think strategically about the co-operative response to this challenge. How can communities co-operate to build resilience? What does a post-carbon co-operative economy that can survive and thrive, look like?”

According to Jo White of Co-operative Futures, the organisers of the event, co-operatives have led the way in offering solutions to emerging crises and the co-ops of the future need to start planning for the post carbon landscape.

“We are looking forward to welcoming a wide range of activists to Post Carbon Co-ops in February and we are hoping to move the debate forward on positive co-operative solutions for a low carbon future.”

Post Carbon Co-ops takes place on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th February 2017 at Jurys Inn in Cheltenham and delegates can book their place online now.