Ex-Firefly staffer joins mental health group United

Mental health charity United Response has restructured its comms function and hired ex-Firefly senior consultant Jamie Gill to fill a new press and PA manager role.

Gill, who left Firefly at the end of last year after nine years with the agency, is charged with delivering a ‘high profile press strategy’.

He said his role is ‘press focused’, and he would be highlighting the charity’s work with people who have mental health problems and learning disabilities. He will also implement PA campaigns to target local and central government bodies.

United Response is keen to position itself as a key commentator as the Mental Health Bill and welfare reforms are discussed in Parliament.

The hire sees Antonia Hyde taking a new role of creative and web manager. She was formerly media, PR and web manager, but will now concentrate on marketing and production, leaving Gill to focus on press duties.

Hyde and Gill report to fundraising and comms director Diane Lightfoot.

At Firefly, Gill was based in its public sector and not-for-profit team. He worked with several charities, including on Samaritans’ 50th anniversary campaign.

He was the CIPR’s Outstanding Young Communicator of the Year 2006.

At the end of last year, United Response was part of an alliance of charities that challenged the amen-ded Mental Health Bill, describing it as ‘not fit for the 21st century’.

United Response chief executive Su Sayer said the legislation ‘should provide a right to independent advocacy for everyone sectioned under the act’.

‘Mental health provision must be given greater priority by the Government,’ she added.

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