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Conscious Communications lives up to its name by donating 1/3 of the working week to charitable initiatives

Conscious Communications has donated 1/3 of its team’s time and expertise to supporting charitable initiatives in the last year. The agency has been built on a set of ethical principles which underpin its vision of doing good while doing well, through pro-bono work, community projects and its charitable volunteering programme. This business approach has earned the agency widespread recognition as one of the 130 most influential businesses in Cambridge, a ‘Force for Good’ in the PR industry, and as a finalist for Corporate Purpose in The Drum Agency Business Awards.

Conscious Communications, founded in 2012, is fulfilling its mission in a number of ways. The company established the student games festival FXP; a STEM initiative designed to drive social mobility by building career aspirations and opportunities for young people across Cambridgeshire. It also has an internal volunteering programme which offers paid work days for all employees to support charities of their choice. Past choices include Tommy’s, which funds research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth; CamCRAG, a Cambridge-based refugee charity; and Stars, which supports young people in Cambridgeshire facing grief and dealing with loss. On top of this, the agency chooses an annual ‘Charity of the Year’ which benefits from the team’s PR and marketing support pro-bono for the entire year. The 2018/2019 charity is Cogwheel Trust – a mental health charity that supports people in need in the local area. 

Alison Taylor, Managing Director at Conscious Communications, said: “We are so pleased to be achieving our ambition of using our skills to benefit others by combining our creativity and strategic expertise with ethics that make us proud and reflect our sense of social responsibility. The fact that we have built a successful business, that gives a third of its time and resource to good causes, is testament to our belief that professions like ours can indeed do well by doing good.  We all find it extremely rewarding to see the success of our philosophy and business approach authenticated in the support we are able to deliver.”

The agency has been recognised for its ethos on a number of occasions; in 2017 Conscious Communications was awarded the PR Week ‘Force For Good’ Award and in 2018 it received Investors In People Gold accreditation – never previously won by an agency of such size. Conscious Communications is also shortlisted for the Community Business of the Year category at the 2018 SME National Business Awards, for its dedication to affecting positive change.

Taylor went on to say: “We appreciate the recognition we receive for being a force for good and we hope, in some small way, to set an example for others to also adopt conscientious business approaches that benefit people and local communities.”

Conscious Communications to launch education into orbit with FIRST® LEGO® League

We are applying our expertise in STEM-based educational events to The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) FIRST® LEGO® League – a global science and technology challenge that will see over a 100 young people from the Cambridgeshire region build and programme robots to compete in a regional challenge heat. The winners of the regional heat will go on to compete at the UK and Ireland final in February and, if successful, will be entered into the World Festival in Detroit, Michigan.

This year’s FIRST® LEGO® League theme is ‘INTO ORBIT’, which will challenge teams of 9-16 year olds to build and programme robots to undertake a series of missions, as well as completing a project assignment based on solving problems faced by astronauts in space. The competition aims to encourage young people to engage and have fun with STEM subjects, as they discover the power of education and technology in solving the world’s problems.

Our agency, which has been recognised for its commitment to using its influence and expertise for good in the local community, has a wealth of experience in organising and promoting STEM related education initiatives. The team will coordinate the FIRST® LEGO® League Cambridgeshire event’s logistics, school liaison, marketing and public relations, working alongside tournament hosts Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd. and the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering. 

Alison Taylor, Managing Director at Conscious Communications, said: “Supporting education, social mobility and positive community projects is the absolute essence of our agency and team. In 2016 we established FXP Festival – a games design and development competition for school and college students – with the aim of increasing social mobility in the region and developing local young people’s digital and teamworking skills. We are very pleased that our experience running FXP Festival, paired with our strategic expertise and ethics, have allowed us this opportunity to support the IET FIRST® LEGO® league – an exciting, global initiative. We can’t wait to see the fantastic work that the young people from our region will undoubtedly create, and we hope that the project will inspire them to reach their full potential in and out of the classroom.”

Registration for the FIRST® LEGO® League 2018-19 season is now open to teams of up to ten individuals, aged 9 to 16 years. Teams can be school groups, scout groups, or simply a team of friends, but will need at least two adult coaches. For more information about the event and how to register please visit: firstlegoleague.theiet.org/registration/fll-registration.cfm

Cambridge’s ‘Force for Good’ pledges to support The Cogwheel Trust

We have selected local mental health charity, The Cogwheel Trust, as our 2018/2019 Charity of the Year.

For the next 12 months, we will support the charity pro-bono, through a public relations and marketing programme, as well as assisting with The Cogwheel Trust’s ongoing strategy.

The Cogwheel Trust has been providing affordable counselling and psychotherapy support for people in Cambridgeshire for 30 years, with centres in Cambridge, Ely and Sawston. The charity has a team of over 40 dedicated part-time counsellors, who are able offer a variety of counselling approaches – from psychodynamic therapy to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Since it was founded, The Cogwheel Trust has provided more than 90,000 counselling sessions, helping more than 20,000 people in Cambridgeshire.

Alison Taylor, Managing Director, Conscious Communications, said: “Mental health issues will inevitably affect all of us – whether directly, or indirectly through our family and friends – and our team chose to dedicate our time this year to support Cogwheel Trust and its mission to improve the wellbeing of those in our community.

“By offering The Cogwheel Trust our expertise, including support with strategy development, media relations, marketing, events planning and digital communications, we hope to help grow the charity’s base of funds and funders – which is critical for ensuring The Cogwheel Trust’s service continues to be sustainable. The charity’s work has helped, and is helping, thousands of people, but the demand still exists for more counselling services. In order to make an even greater positive impact on the future of Cambridge’s mental health and wellbeing, we will be putting our time and resource into supporting the growth of this vital charity.”

Jane Whitten, Community Fundraiser, The Cogwheel Trust, said: “When Conscious Communications approached us about their Charity of the Year programme, it could not have been more timely. We have just celebrated 30 years of service and, with demand increasing year after year, it is time for us to look ahead to what we can do next, and how we can develop our services. The Cogwheel Trust prides itself on offering high quality counselling – all of our counsellors are professionally trained or in the final stages of their qualification – and it is imperative that we are able to maintain this level of professionalism.

“One of our priorities this year is to work more with Cambridge’s business community – to help organisations with their HR and wellbeing programmes, and to establish ongoing partnerships. 91 million working days are lost every year through mental health and stress-related issues, but we aim to play our part in fixing this. After all, when one person works well, everything works better.  With the support of Conscious Communications this year, we will have greater capacity to perform this kind of outreach, and hope to engage with many new partners.”

Working with clients across the education, charity and technology sectors, the agency was acknowledged last year for its commitment to using its influence and expertise for good in the local community. FXP Festival, the agency’s own social enterprise, supports schools in delivering the Computer Science curriculum and, as a result of the agency’s dedication to this work and creation of FXP, we were awarded the PR Week ‘Force For Good’ Award in 2017.

We have also recently been shortlisted for the Community Business of the Year category in the SME National Business Awards 2018, and has also achieved Investors In People Gold accreditation – a rare accolade for a small organisation.

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