Account Director Tom Payne gets creative on community…


Here at Newsline Towers, we always like to emphasise CSR to our clients – that’s corporate social responsibility to the uninitiated.

Now, don’t panic, the boss hasn’t enlisted me to give him 350 words on CSR in a bid to woo potential clients (although that would always be nice. We really know what we’re doing, contact details here on the website…). No, I’m merely using it as a devilishly clever and subtle link to my main topic.

Corporate social responsibility is a form of self-regulation which sees businesses break beyond compliance and statutory requirements and further some sort of social good.

Although I’m extremely grateful to Wikipedia for that line, to you and I, CSR is about getting out there into the community and doing something good, something to help, something that matters.

Does your business do that? Do you do that? Well, if not, you probably can and should do that. As a PR firm we offer our clients a wide range of ideas about how they can engage with the community and do something good outside their own walls.

And that is where my main topic comes in: Community.

It’s often something that is overlooked by individuals and businesses alike. We all live busy lives and when we’re not awfully busy being busy, it’s nice to have a bit of ‘me’ time. So I’m told, anyway.

But with the changing of the clocks, so too may there be a change in attitudes towards getting out into the community. After all, what better time of year to do your bit? ‘Tis the season to be jolly and all that (well, nearly – don’t shoot me).

To be honest, I feel that in the time you’ve been reading this we probably know each other well enough for me to share some personal deets with you.

When I’m not doing my bit at Newsline to earn our clients some outrageously strong media coverage, I play a bit of cricket.

In fact, I’m chairman of a cricket club which plays in the Leicestershire and Rutland Cricket League (we’re always on the look-out for new players btw, check us out on Twitter @burbagecc).

At the club, we try to do our bit for the community. In the summer, we dust off our finest hi-vis vests to help marshal the village carnival, while at this time of year we also supply a few bodies to help look after the community bonfire.

It’s not much but it helps with that most old-fashioned of things – community spirit. In an age of social media, WhatsApp and what not, community often gets overlooked. More and more is left to fewer and fewer to do.

Having already introduced Christmas into this November 1 blog, I’m loathe to talk about New Year resolutions as well. But I will. Why not give your own CSR some thought ahead of the dawning of 2018 and the traditional platform for ‘change’?

To coin a phrase from a well-known supermarket chain, every little helps. It could be anything from volunteering somewhere, to sponsoring a local team, to simply putting together a little Christmas shoebox for those who may not be able to tuck into the full works on December 25.

Coventry and Warwickshire is one of six areas in the UK chosen to trial the government’s Gigabit Voucher Scheme, which – bear with me here – aims to bring the UK’s fastest and most reliable broadband to SMEs, schools and hospitals. Indeed, our client WarwickNet is a registered provider if you’re interested.

It’s being dubbed the next generation of broadband and that’s exactly where we are. Downloads so fast, the web page is up before you’ve even typed it.

Everything is at the touch of a button or a swipe of the finger and, while that is utterly amazing and offers unbelievable accessibility, you could genuinely live life or even run a business without conversing properly with the outside world.

But let’s not just do that. Let’s be bold and actually do something in the communities we inhabit. Take the weight off the few. Who knows, you may even get some good PR from it. Even if it’s just among your own family. Or cricket club…