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Why I’m happy to find Luton - Hospice Comms Day 2017

Author: Tamsin Thomas
07 August 2017

Tamsin Thomas, Head of PR & Communications at Cornwall Hospice Care, reflects on Hospice UK’s workshop for hospice communications and marketing staff last year, and why she did not hesitate to book a place early for this year’s event.

I love a challenge, especially if there is a reward at the end!  Last year it was to get to Leeds and St Gemma’s Hospice for the Hospice UK Comms Day. With flights from Cornwall not starting until September (this was in June) suddenly the journey took on the feel of a charity trek. Eventually the train took the strain and boy was the ride worth it.

Given none of us work in big PR teams the first delight was to find myself in a room with lots of other people facing the same challenges and yet all full of commitment and good ideas. You can learn so much just by sitting with other PR and Communications colleagues and listening – not that that is always easy when there is so much to share and we are after all, communicators! I could put faces to names and quiz unsuspecting professionals around me about campaigns, successes and challenges. 

The theme was ‘Influencer or Afterthought’ and my first surprise came when I discovered how few of my colleagues across the country had a direct line of report to their Chief Executive.  For me it is vital to the success of communications, internal and external, that the conversations we have are with the CEO, Executive Team and Chair of Trustees. I feel it puts communications at the heart of everything across the charity. I hope many went away ready to have renewed discussions with their Chief Executives about the importance of our field.

After the honour of being a panellist at the event, other highlights included advice around internal communications, and the action and ideas that come out of personal jealousy when you see a superb campaign like Keech Hospice’s award winning annual review. 

I did what I always do at conferences like this and bounced out full of good ideas and renewed vigour – oh and copious notes!  I had been heartened by Tony Carpenter, our colleague from Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, who had talked of changing the language around what we do to make it simpler, more direct and more effective. To my delight we have headed some way down this road now and are continuing the process.  

I did not hesitate to book early for this year’s Hospice UK Comms Day. It will be good to be ‘back in the room’ with our collective expertise and enthusiasm. The theme this year is one that is dear to my heart, storytelling, something I very much enjoy as a former BBC producer and presenter. We tell a lot of stories at Cornwall Hospice Care, in words, video and sound, and one of the latest was Terry’s story for Dying Matters Week this year, which left us all with a reminder of how powerful this tool is.  

I just need to get my head round another journey that, as we Cornish say, will take me across the River Tamar ‘to England’ and to Luton of course, where I am told they have a great hospice and a great football team!   

The workshop takes place on September 15. Don’t delay, book your place today on Hospice UK’s page How do we tell the story of hospice care?

For more information on what will be covered on the day visit the full programme   

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