British Red Cross hires Talbot as comms chief

The British Red Cross has hired Phil Talbot as its director of communications as it gears up to strengthen its profile in the UK as an emergency response organisation.

Talbot will lead a 39-strong team across the UK and will have overall responsibility for the organisation’s press and public relations, public affairs, internal comms, campaigns, publications, website, marketing,

exhibitions and public enquiries, as well as the British Red Cross Museum archives.

He will oversee the charity’s battle to persuade the Government to incorporate a role for voluntary sector organisations in the Civil Contingencies Bill.

This would force local authorities to involve voluntary organisations when putting together plans to deal with emergencies such as terrorist threats and flooding.

Formerly head of comms at the Body Shop in Australia, Talbot joins the Red Cross on 15 July from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, where he has worked for five years and is currently deputy director of comms.

He will report to the charity’s CEO Sir Nicholas Young and replaces William Beaver, who left after just one year in the post last August to work as a senior marketing consultant on the joint Red Cross and EU Road Safety Campaign steering committee.

Talbot’s appointment comes amid Red Cross Week as the charity launches a national and regional PR offensive to raise awareness about the work of its volunteers.

This year, the charity is using the week – which runs until 8 May – to highlight the efforts of the organisation’s volunteers during 60 years of crises and conflicts by comparing current ‘Red Cross humanitarian heroes’ with volunteers who delivered food parcels to World War II prisoners of war and pulled survivors from rubble during the Blitz.

Actors such as Jerry Hall, Roger Moore and David Jason have nominated ‘celebrity heroes’ to help raise the profile of the campaign.

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