Countryside Agency picks PR chief

The Countryside Agency, which will be created by the merger this April of two existing rural affairs bodies, has appointed David Coleman as head of public affairs to manage its pounds 1.5 million PR budget.

The Countryside Agency, which will be created by the merger this

April of two existing rural affairs bodies, has appointed David Coleman

as head of public affairs to manage its pounds 1.5 million PR

budget.



Coleman is currently strategic affairs head at the Countryside

Commission, which is merging with the Rural Development Commission (RDC)

to form the new agency.



Dubbed the new ’champion’ of the English countryside by its creator,

deputy prime minister John Prescott, the agency will advise the

Government and take action on issues relating to the environment and

social well-being of the English countryside. It will continue with the

work of the RDC, whose activities include sponsored projects to help

women in rural areas return to full employment.



Coleman will have management responsibility for all press and publicity

at the new agency. Day-to-day running of these functions, however, will

be left to the incumbents of the two merging agencies.



The London office will be run by Isobel Coy, currently head of public

affairs at the RDC, who becomes head of media and parliamentary

relations with a team of three.



The Cheltenham office, covering non-media PR, research and events, will

be led by Liz Thompson, now PR manager at the Countryside Commission,

while Lisa Hooper - another Commission employee - will continue to head

up publications.



Countryside Commission media manager Pam Gilder is taking on a new, and

as yet unannounced, role within the Countryside Agency.



The new agency’s PR operations will have considerable clout. It is

currently in the process of recruiting eight freelance PR professionals

to sell its story to the regions.



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