Dear supporters,

We hope this finds you safe and well.

As we near the halfway point of this year we wanted to give you an important update about The Taylor Bennett Foundation. We have exciting news about our flagship programme with Brunswick and about our popular Summer Stars programme. We also have updates on changes to our board of trustees.

As many of you will know, we took the decision to apply for government support in May and June and furloughed Melissa Lawrence our CEO and Gabrielle Thuesday our programme manager.  We are hugely grateful for their understanding and we are delighted to be welcoming Melissa back for two weeks from 1st June.

The vital importance of diversity in public relations has never been more evident, as many organisations seek to find different ways of engaging and communicating with their key stakeholders through this period of great uncertainty.

The board of trustees takes our duty to protect the young people we support – and their families - incredibly seriously, and so, with this in mind, we have made some important decisions.

Summer Stars

Our Summer Stars programme is one of our most valuable offers and we are delighted that more than 200 young people have applied to take part this year. With it currently scheduled to take place from the w/c 20th July 2020 we have made the decision to move the programme online; with both the lectures and the placements delivered virtually.

More than ever, we are looking for businesses to support us over the next few months by offering some time to help these young people. If you are one of our agreed lecturers, please get in contact with Catriona [email protected] to confirm you can deliver your session virtually.  If you would like to be involved, we would love to hear from you.  If you are hosting a young person, please also confirm that you can host their experience with you virtually.  Please help us ensure that no young person is left behind.

Brunswick Programme

We are delighted our Brunswick programme will be going ahead, and for the first time as a fully online programme. We did this for the last few weeks of our FTI trainees and it was very successful.  The Brunswick programme will take place over six weeks instead of ten and we are extremely thankful for Brunswick’s support in ensuring the delivery of this. Undertaking this programme virtually presents a unique and wonderful opportunity for PR teams across the UK to host a visit. We look forward to engaging with and forging new relationships with industry professionals and businesses to support our Brunswick programme. If you would like to host a virtual office visit, we would love to hear from you.  Please contact James Baker [email protected]

Trustee Board

We are delighted to welcome Hannah Davis to the board. Hannah is a chartered accountant, currently working for PwC and she brings a wealth of financial acumen to the board. 

John Lehal will be standing down as vice chair in the autumn and we are excited to announce Kuldeep Mehmi as our new vice chair. Kuldeep is a Foundation alumnus, currently PR Manager for Savills and a trustee.  It is important we hear the alumni voice on the board, and Kuldeep has been a trustee for six months; we are enormously grateful for his commitment to the board and look forward to growing his role in the autumn.  We are also very thankful to John for his commitment over the last three years.

We also said goodbye and hello to Femi Bola, who has stood down as trustee after a long and hugely valuable tenure but remains connected to the Foundation as our Ambassador-in-Chief.  She will be spearheading a newly invigorated ambassador network.

Sarah Pinch, our chair, has been extended for another three years.

How can you help?

  • Consider donating to the Foundation; you can do that easily
  • Get in touch if you can support the Summer Stars [email protected] or our flagship training programme with Brunswick.
  • Contact Sarah [email protected] if you are an HR professional; or have project management experience and are interested in joining the board, we would especially welcome hearing from those who identify as BAME. 
  • And please continue to share the work of The Foundation far and wide, we need your support more than ever, to ensure no young person gets left behind.

With our very best wishes, stay safe.

Sarah Pinch, John Lehal, Matthew Wall, James Baker, Alison Lea, Kuldeep Mehmi, Shamima Begum and Hannah Davis
The Board of Trustees, The Taylor Bennett Foundation