Mencap appoints City PR expert to run comms unit

Disability charity Mencap has appointed City PR expert Deborah Hamilton Lewin as its first director of communications and marketing.

She takes up the newly created role in December, reporting to Mencap chief executive Jo Williams, and heads a national team of 60.

Hamilton Lewin joins after three years at the head of the Bank of England-funded Heart of the City initiative, set up to encourage City firms to improve their corporate social responsibility.

‘I will be bringing the Heart of the City concept to Mencap and will be engaging the corporate sector, which I believe is key to raising the agenda of people with learning difficulties,’ said Hamilton Lewin.

She said PR campaigns would target the corporate sector because it was essential to raising the profile of people with learning difficulties.

‘By employing people with learning difficulties, the corporate sector can help to educate and inform the rest of society about the value of those Mencap represents,’ said Hamilton Lewin. ‘We see it as part of their social responsibilities.

‘I will be looking at expanding the team to incorporate new media communications techniques.’

She added that part of future PR efforts would be to raise the profile of Williams among the corporate community and to emphasise the size of the organisation, which employs 5,000 people.

Hamilton Lewin has previously worked for Cancer BACUP as head of fundraising. Other previous roles include head of external affairs at the Animal Health Trust and regional fundraiser for children’s charity Barnardo’s.

Williams, who was unavailable for comment, said in a written statement: ‘Deborah joins at a critical time. We are looking forward to her significant contribution to our goal of creating better opportunities and support for people with learning disabilities and their families.’

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