PUBLIC SECTOR: British Red Cross to train volunteers in PR

The British Red Cross is to give PR training to thousands of its UK

volunteers.



The move has been made after a review by the charity's head of PR, Beryl

Evans, and its five regional communications managers. This concluded

that more needed to be done on a regional basis to promote the

charity.



A communications handbook has been produced to go to volunteers at the

charity's 66 branches. The handbook includes advice on writing press

releases, issuing photocall notices, planning a PR campaign and handling

media interviews.



Advice on the branding of the charity is being given, to ensure a

nationally unified presentation of its logo and key messages.



Volunteers will also, for the first time, evaluate local PR

campaigns.



They will look at the tone of news coverage and liaise with the regional

communication managers on whether positive, neutral or negative images

of the charity have been given.



Evans, who edited the handbook, said: 'It was felt more could be done

locally to assist the work of the regional communications managers.



'There is a lot the volunteers can do to engage the media locally,

particularly in terms of fundraising. This initiative will provide us

with one voice across the organisation when dealing with the media.'



The communications manager roles were created three years ago and cover

Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Midlands, East Anglia and the south of

England.



The 25-strong central press and information office remains in place.



In the UK Red Cross workers helped in the aftermath of emergencies such

as the 1998 Omagh bombing, the 1999 Ladbroke Grove rail crash and areas

affected by heavy rain and flooding last year. Globally it is part of

the international Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.



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