Rishi doesn’t love me, a time to celebrate, and beautiful things keep happening
by Darren Caveney
1. Rishi doesn’t love me
Over 3 million consultants, creatives, freelancers, directors of ltd companies and self-employed people haven’t qualified for a penny of Government grants since lockdown kicked in in March.
Not a penny. In over six months.
Government have inexplicably excluded this group from grant support. The Conservatives have long been known as the party of Business so on the face of it it’s a strange ommission.
It’s a subject barely mentioned in large parts of the UK media, and to listen to the official soundbites and messaging you may be surprised to hear that the “protective arm around the country” hasn’t been extended to such a large number of people.
There are notable exceptions, people who have shone a spotlight on the issue – James O’Brien and Eddie Mair, for example – and a shout out to the people behind @ForgottenLtd and @ExcludedUK who have been lobbying relentlessly for parity and grant support.
But their work isn’t going to be successful, I fear. Rishi Sunak’s announcements today confirmed that the lack of grant support to this group of people will continue into autumn and winter.
I learned a long time ago that when it comes to your own personal and financial security you can’t rely on institutions, or, in this case, our own UK Government. You have to look after you and yours in a solo capacity. Take control of your own destiny and never stop working away. And, frankly, just get over yourself and accept that you’re not considered important enough for some financial support if the roof starts leaking.
Harsh, but true.
So, as we head into autumn it’s as you were, so to speak.
If you work with agencies, consultants and freelancers and you’re in need of some additional resources to help your stretched comms teams then give them a shout. They may be struggling more than they are letting on.
2. A time to celebrate
I had the great privilidge of taking part in a comms team meeting and call this week. A talented, hard-working and incredibly welcoming bunch. And a team who has busted a gut through covid to do a brilliant job in the face of a lot of pressure, expectation and, well – let’s be honest – challenges.
We talked about the new strategy we’re creating, the priorities to be focused on, and the best ways to deliver against them.
But more important than that we took some time out to reflect on the work which had made the team most proud over the past six-months. I was keeping notes and filled two sides of A4. It’s so easy to forget how much you deliver in the eye of the storm, especially one which just won’t blow over.
It probably doesn’t feel like it right now but the learning, skills enhanced and resilience built this year will improve many of our communicators. You’ll look back and wonder how you got through it all.
As The Smith’s once sang “we can laugh about it now but at the time it was terrible”.
My admiration for public sector comms teams has grown even more this year. Many of them have been given the proverbial ‘hospital pass’ to deal with. Their commitment and outputs have been a credit to our profession. Some of them won’t have received enough thank-you’s along the way.
So thank you for what you do and continue to do for the communities you serve.
3. A beautiful thing keeps happening
When lockdown began I shouted Twitter on an idea to set up a virtual consultants group – a safe space where we could support, chat, laugh, ask, rant, and explore.
Monday at 12.30 has become our special slot.
This week’ was our 22nd Zoom chat (and I’ve only missed two of them)
There’s deliberately no agenda. It’s open house to talk shop, or not.
There’s always some fun and wow that’s been needed by us all as the lockdown weeks have limped on.
I won’t go into the detail of this week’s chat but safe to say we pondered on some of the really big topics which are impacting our industry and wider society in 2020 UK-land. We went quite deep in the hour-plus chat.
The group is genuinely something a little bit special.
Many on the group have never met IRL. So we look forward to the day when we can bowl up to a coffee shop or pub and enjoy each others company without the need for Zoom (no offence, Zoom, I love you and all, but)
Stay safe, all x
Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd
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Image via Tullio Saba