Ethical public relations versus fake news

For over 20 years, Ethos public relations has described itself as an ethical PR agency. We might not have known it back then, but what we were really saying was that we were against ‘fake news’.

Ethos 20 logoIn recent years, a number of things have contributed to the term fake news being bandied about, almost every time someone disagrees with some information or an editorial stance. This is not at all useful and is only going to increase mistrust of information and expert opinion.

In the PR context, what we meant by ethical PR was not engaging in spin but focusing on the real news behind a story. For many clients, especially in the charity and social enterprise sectors, this is particularly important as they have meaningful stories to tell supporters and funders and we believe this is best done with real, honest case studies and stories that demonstrate the real impact of their work.

Back in the 1980s it wasn’t fake news that made us develop our honest approach but rather spin and ‘kiss and tell’ stories.

Unfortunately, the transformation to fake news from this was almost inevitable and was supported in part by some bad editorial decisions by the media along the way.

It’s easy to blame editors, but a free media does need to be protected, and probably almost everyone working in public relations can cite examples of where really interesting, pertinent and newsworthy press releases have gained no coverage, while less socially useful information gets on air or in print.

Journalists aren’t social workers, but they do need to take a responsibility to their community and reflect what is going on in a balanced and holistic way. We have always subscribed to – and done our best to adhere to – the NUJ principles in our dealings with the media.

In a pre-digital age it was true that air time and newspaper space was limited, but that’s hardly the case now. Real, good quality and verifiable news should be able to find an outlet on trusted media sites to balance the seemingly endless rise of so called ‘news’ sites peddling opinion as fact.

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.

Media Statement on behalf of Cae Post

Cae Post Logo

  4 January 2018

Cae Post announces end of trade recycling and waste collections

Cae Post, the environmental charity and social enterprise based in Welshpool, has announced it is to stop its waste and recycling collections with effect from 31st January 2018, with the loss of 10 staff.

Making the announcement, John Harrington, chair of the charity’s trustees, said: “It has been an extremely difficult year for us. Although we have been able to grow our services to trade customers in Powys and Shropshire, we have seen the value and demand for the recyclable materials we sort and bale fall. This has led us to a very difficult decision.

“As a board of trustees, it was very hard for us to decide to close our recycling centre in Trewern, but financially we had no choice. We hope to be able to continue to meet our charitable objectives of offering training and employment to those disadvantaged in the jobs market in some other way in future.”

Cae Post has a long history of pioneering charitable action in the fields of learning disability and environmental action.

Although the current trading activities of the charity will cease, the charity will continue to exist while the trustees investigate new ways to deliver their charitable objectives.

Added John: “We would really like to thank all of our staff, customers and suppliers over the years for their support and the significant contribution they have made to our social enterprise.”

– e n d s –

Notes to Editor:

Cae Post believes that employment and access to work are central to how people see themselves and that people with a range of disabilities, or who are disadvantaged in the labour market, should be given the same opportunity of contributing to their community through work.

By promoting the many individual achievements our beneficiaries make, Cae Post can help to create a more inclusive image for all those who are disadvantaged.

 

Mince pie - Ethos public relations

Season’s greetings 2017

As another year comes to its end, it has become our tradition to have a(nother) glass of sherry and a mince pie and to reflect on the previous year.

It’s now over three years since Ethos public relations made the move from an office based PR agency in Manchester to a more flexible Shropshire operation. During this time, we feel we have become part of the local community and have had the benefit of meeting and working with some fantastic local people.

We might now be based near to Oswestry, but we still have clients across the UK and as the nature of public relations changes from its broadcast and print focus to an increasingly digital and social media focus, we have enjoyed supporting clients with new website projects, conference preparations and product development, as well as traditional media and public relations.

Over the year, we have seen a number of fundraising events take place locally and a few have been less well publicised than we think they ought to have been. As we are passionate about local charities and fundraising initiatives we launched a PR service especially for that sector. More details are here. We really would love to work with you to help you raise your fundraising and business objectives.

Holly

Talking of fundraising, along with a number of other volunteers, we have started to plan a new music festival in Welshpool to raise funds to support the reopening of the Montgomery Canal between Shropshire and Powys. There are a number of sponsorship opportunities available to businesses and brands that would like to be associated with this. Why not take a look at www.musicforthemonty.co.uk and get in touch?

We will be closed over the Christmas break from lunchtime on Friday 22nd December until Tuesday 2nd January 2018, but, as we are firmly in the 21st century, we will be checking our emails, social media accounts and text messages, so do stay in touch.

We would like to wish all our clients, suppliers, friends and future clients Season’s Greetings and a very successful 2018.

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/.

Propagator

Cae Post develops online shop

Cae Post, an innovative social enterprise based in Powys, has recently taken delivery of a stock of recycled plastic Eco Potagators to sell in support of their charity.

PropagatorMade out of recycled yoghurt pots, these propagatorsare designed to be turned upside down once seedlings have outgrown the propagator and this then makes an attractive blue plant pot.

Cae Post believes in promoting the use of recycled materials as a way to stimulate demand for them and to ensure that recycled materials retain their value. For over 30 years, Cae Post has provided employment and access to work for disadvantaged people in the Powys and North Shropshire area combined with environmental action. They believe work is central to how people see themselves and that people with a range of disabilities, or who are disadvantaged in the labour market, should be given the same opportunity of contributing to their community through work.

As a charity and social business involved in the collection and recycling of materials – including plastics – Cae Post believes it is important that a market is created for these waste materials. This then makes it profitable to collect the materials. Without an outlet for collected recyclates, their value is much lower.

Cae Post was set up to provide meaningful work experience and jobs to people left behind in the labour market. By selling items on its website, Cae Post aims to give people meaningful work in processing the orders, packaging and sending them out. It’s not solely about making a profit but about giving dignified work to people. This is not Cae Post’s main source of revenue or the biggest activity it undertakes, but one which is crucial to their mission of combining work opportunities and environmental actrion.

As a social enterprise, Cae Post says it is always looking for new opportunities to grow the business in a way that marries its purpose of combining environmental action with tackling exclusion and inequality in the labour market.

Click here to find out more about Eco Potagators and to purchase online.

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.