Connect Campaign Award: and the winner is… Honeypot
At our summer party last night Gill Morris, our Executive Chairman, announced that Honeypot will be Connect’s first pro-bono client. The Connect Campaign Award was launched in April 2015 and we invited charities and not-for-profit campaigners to share their ideas with us.
Four finalists pitched their campaigns to an independent panel made up of three former Connect employees: Miles Celic (Director of Group Strategic Communications, Prudential), Gazala Haq (former VP Corporate Affairs Europe, HP) and Simon Redfern (Director Corporate Affairs, Starbucks).
The quality of entries was impressive and all four of the finalists made a strong case for their cause. Just as important, they had all considered how public affairs could make a tangible difference to change people’s lives for the better. For the judges it proved a touch decision. Migrant Voice, who campaign for the rights of migrants in the UK, demonstrated the formidable challenge in facing down a hostile media narrative around immigration and migrants. LawWorks spoke eloquently about the importance of access to justice for the most vulnerable in our society. Women’s Voice have an excellent campaign plan to engage politicians in mentoring schemes with survivors of domestic violence. However, it was the judges’ unanimous decision to make the award to Honeypot, a charity which provides respite breaks and outreach support to young carers and vulnerable children, aged 5 -12 years old.
One reason why Honeypot’s campaign proved so compelling was the lack of awareness of the issue of children who are carers. As many as 750,000 children in the UK are performing a surrogate adult role at home. Many care for a chronically or terminally ill loved one, or have a parent with drug, alcohol or mental health problem. Some will have been in a caring role from as young as 5 years old, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. At Connect we are very excited that we will be working with Honeypot for a year to support them to raise awareness of their issues and to engage policymakers and influencers in the issue of young carers.
Connect has a proud tradition of working with charities and not-for-profit organisations, alongside commercial clients. We are also proud to join the growing number of public affairs and communications consultancies that formerly advertise for pro-bono work, ensuring that the widest range of charities and voluntary organisations is able to use our public affairs experience to make a real difference.
Now the hard work begins. For Honeypot this will hopefully mean a year of activity that will transform awareness of their work and help spark and shape a political debate around young carers. For Connect the challenge is clear – to deliver a powerful campaign that leaves its mark and which can be taken forward by Honeypot in the years to come. We will be treating our pro-bono client just like any other – they can expect a comprehensive service drawing on the experience and skills of Connect’s consultants at every level. There will be an agreed programme of activity and regular contact. As Gill Morris has made clear: “I am very excited that Connect will be working with Honeypot over the coming year. We are going to put our heart and soul into this – working hard as a team and doing the best for a good cause has always been the Connect way.”