Benlowndes

a perspective on PR in social housing and regeneration

Category Archives: Uncategorized

#Togetherstronger: more than a marketing slogan

After the chaos of Brexit and divisive tone of much of the reaction to the vote, there’s nothing like sport to bring people back together.

And what a rollercoaster of a week it’s been. As a remain supporter and proud Welshman, I was disappointed that so many people in Wales voted to leave the EU.

The prevailing, and sometimes lazy, narrative that has emerged since is one of a nation divided.

Then Friday night happened…

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No predictions, just 3 hopes for 2016

If you’ve read any posts, columns and opinions about 2015, it would be easy to think that last year was a bad one.

People of Columnia have a negative tendency, but it seems that there’s plenty to trouble us. Terrorism, austerity, economic under-performance, migration, Europe and runaway house prices all point to a bad year.

I’ve also had many conversations about ‘leadership failure’ over many of these issues. It seems that people have had enough of being soft-soaped. This was demonstrated in Jeremy Corbyn’s extraordinary victory over the ‘Westminster elite’ in the Labour leadership campaign. It was also expressed in nastier ways through trolling and threats dealt out on social media.

Opinion formers have an appetite for predictions at this time of year. After so many people called the big events wrong in 2015, it’s daft to attempt it for the coming year.

I want to be optimistic and set out some hopes for 2016. Some relate to national issues, others are more local and there’s a personal one too. All are important to me and, if they happen, it should be a good year.

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FUTURE PROOF: 40 skills you’ll need in your 2020 comms team today

This is one of the best public sector blog posts I’ve read for a while, from the ever-excellent Dan Slee.

The Dan Slee Blog

6916758251_2c7753d7fc_oSo what occupies the mind of the most successful Olympic coach Britain has ever had? You’ll find the answer surprising.

It’s not next week, the next Tour de France or who will be in the squad for Rio that occupies cycling’s Dave Brailsford. It’s what his best team will be in five years time.

“I find that once you’ve done that,” he told the BBC, “you can work backwards to work out a way to get to where you want to be.”

It chimed with something I’ve often reflected on for some time. Just what should a comms team look like? Not the press release counting machine of history. Not either a team of ninjas on hoverboards. Communications people if they want longevity should be moving. Unlike Dave Brailsford we don’t have until 2020. For some its too late.

Your job used to be create content in a place where…

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What do Power Lists say about who really has power?

Jules Birch

Love them or hate them but it’s hard to ignore them. There are lists for everything from the greatest films to the richest people and the housing world is no exception.

For the second year running, housing has two alternative lists. The Power Players Top 50 was first published by 24 Housing in 2012 and Paul Taylor compiled the Digital Power Players list in 2013. This year the magazine published both: the official list in April and the digital list in the latest (June) issue.

Cover73_380Cover71-380

The lists, and the differences between them, got me thinking about power and who has it in housing. Or rather who other people think has it, since the results are inevitably influenced by the way they are compiled.

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Bristol’s ‘pop up’ creative hub starts with a bang

I attended the launch last night of a creative venture which has transformed a former car park near Bristol Temple Meads and was blown away by the results.

Nine months’ of live entertainment has kicked off in a big tent near where I work in Temple Quay, led by Creative Common and attended by hundreds of Bristolians last night.

They were invited into the tent on Plot 3 to stand and watch BIANCO, a fast-moving two hour display of high wire-walking, trapeze swinging, fire eating and live music.

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My resolution for 2013: breaking bad email habits

I’ve a habit to confess to, which I’d like to break this year. Emails have had a hold on me for more than 15 years, arriving and requiring responses at all hours. The more I respond, the more traffic arrives to fill the void. I came into work early this morning after a week or so off to clear out the messages that had landed over Christmas before getting on with the rest of the day.

Driving into the office before 7am after a lovely festive break with family and friends, it is easy to be struck by how maddening this is. As new year’s resolutions go, breaking the cycle of email addiction is one of the better ones I’ve made.

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When will Haven get its hump back?

Ex hump-back bridge in Broad Haven

The freak conditions have claimed a surprise victim in Broad Haven, Pembrokeshire, down the road from where my parents live.

The hump back bridge at the foot of Haroldston Hill has disappeared, swept into the sea by the high tide on Wednesday last week. All that appears left is the wall running parallel to the beach, which now dangles precariously without support over the sea-front.

No more walking across that wall with the kids for a while now, it would seem. Those who live or stay at the bottom of the hill face the inconvenience of a detour around the back roads to get through the village or into town.

Pembrokeshire County Council appears unable to say when the road will be restored. I hope I am wrong, as the Haven can’t afford to have the road closed for long, but my money’s on it taking a while to fix.

Those who wish to make the case for a swift response to the council should drop a line to its transport unit in Haverfordwest, or to Cllr Keith Lewis, who chairs its Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Ethics 1 – Setting the Scene

This is one of a series of posts on journalism ethics by David Banks, who helped train me as a reporter at Trinity Mirror more than a decade ago.

It runs until tomorrow and has started by covering the subject of ‘deathknocks’, depicting a scenario he encountered on the Liverpool Daily Post a couple of decades ago.

Read on or join the conversation if you’re interested how journalists approach the various dilemmas posed such situations.

You can comment on the blog or Twitter, using the hashtag #banksyethics.

For Jane

This is a personal post, which I’ve been thinking about for days following the death of someone very special last weekend. Jane Bell, owner of the Druidstone in Pembrokeshire, wife, mother, grandmother and friend to so many (including me) died on 12 August after a battle against pancreatic cancer.

Hundreds of people came to the hotel yesterday from all across the world to celebrate a lady who has spent the last 40 years creating the most remarkable place many of us have known.

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Royal visit brightens a summer deluge

I went to the fantastic Heartlands regeneration project in Pool yesterday, which helped kick off the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall’s three-day visit to the county.

They were greeted by lines of local people who braved the dreadful weather, makeshift rain macs and all, to greet the couple on their visit to the former tin mine, which has been transformed into what’s been described as ‘Cornwall’s cultural playground’.

There was plenty do during their two hours at Heartlands, including a tour of the adventure playground which has been designed by local kids, meeting supporters of the project, checking out the local businesses who make up the market place on the site and unveiling a stone engraved to commemorate the visit and draw links to the area’s mining industry.

Some pictures, which show the weather in its glory, are below. Thankfully, the rain didn’t take the shine off the day for those who were there.

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