I have been a member of Business in the Community's (BITC) ProHelp programme now for over a decade and I'm still amazed at how businesses and community organisations are missing out on the amazing opportunities the organisation offers.

BITC is a national business-led charity with 850 member companies. Through its ProHelp programme we support voluntary and community based organisations by offering pro-bono professional services that would normally be out of their reach. The results can be the total transformation of an organisation that can then make a real positive impact in, often, some of our most deprived and challenged communities.

The service is provided free by the members and the administrative support is aided by funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

I get a massive personal fillip out of supporting people who come to us for several reasons. Not only do I know I'm making a difference in my community, as I did when I worked with the Tin Hat Centre in Selston, helping them with a marketing strategy, I also get free professional training. Yes; free professional training!

02 Oct


How many doors do you think you go through in life? How many times have you stood knocking at a door only to find it will never open, unlike the others where you tap and are greeted by someone opening it for you?

I don't mean actual front or back doors. I don't mean revolving, slide or stable doors. I don't even mean steel wooden or French doors – I mean doors of opportunity.

Most of us would agree that there are two of these types of doors in life – the ones that open and the ones that don't. With effort most doors will open for you, providing new opportunities for you and others. However some will always remain slammed shut - so what do you do if you need to progress through the portal to your objective on the other side of the totally closed door?

You may need to go through to make a sale, to make a connection or to take your project to the next stage, but if the door does not open you will be frustrated and potentially fail.

This is when you need to realise that there is an alternative, there is another door. This door is always open to you; in fact you own the door and control the key because it is a door that you create.

When faced with a situation where the normal routes to your objective are blocked the choice is to give up or create your own door. Creating a door takes vision, it requires you to enlist others but essentially it takes belief that you can make something happen that is much bigger than others believe can be achieved.

Believing in creating your own doors means not being confined or restricted by others' limitations. It means stepping back and looking at the wider picture. It means being honest with yourself and others; it means playing the game with integrity, because if you do then others will believe in you and join you in achieving a shared goal.

I'm currently writing a book on the three doors and will be blogging about it regularly, so if you want to know more and maybe share your thoughts on how you got round the locked doors in life then please stay in touch.


What do you do when a media company calls to say that they have been instructed by your biggest and most important client to produce a special feature about them and they'd like you to support it with advertising?

This type of supported feature has been around for a long time and we've all either been asked to support a client or have been approached by a magazine to suggest one to our suppliers. They can be useful promotional opportunities and helpful in building good public relations with key business partners.

That's all fine and dandy, but do you take the approach from the magazine at face value and pay for the advert etc or do you, just by chance, double check to see if it is a legitimate approach?

I and my partner are booked for this weekend's gig with Elbow at Jodrell Bank, a small present to myself to celebrate my 50th birthday with one of our favourite bands and something we have been looking forward to for months. Imagine how we now feel to discover that the venue is not allowing people to take any food or drink of any sort into the venue; and as far as we know that includes water and soft drinks!

The gates open at 2pm and close at 11.30pm - that's over nine hours locked inside a venue. Having only just discovered these restrictions placed on ticket holders I can honestly say If we had known in advance we would certainly NOT have parted with our money - as much as we both love Mr Garvey and Co.

To essentially lock people inside a venue for nine hours and force them to buy, no doubt high priced, food and drink is simply outrageous. We have been attending gigs and festivals for years and have never come across such restrictions. Can you imagine the cost to a small family with children that want to attend what should be a fantastic event?

Some months ago the organisers said on their Facebook page that they would be addressing this issue after complaints they received last year - well it seems they have done nothing. Yet another case of very poor Public Relations by an organisation out to drain every last penny from its customers.

This will be the first and most definitely the last time we attend any event at Jodrell Bank. Yell

Euro 2012 is now in full swing, with millions of football fans across Europe and no doubt beyond enjoying the spectacle being provided in Poland and the Ukraine.

In the UK the tournament was almost set up to fail by the BBC Panorama programme that showed there are serious issues with racist elements among the local football fans. Anyone with any knowledge of football or East European politics for that matter would not have been surprised at this, but I suspect what shocked most people was the apparent acceptance of the racists' actions by others and the denial offered by the authorities there.

Having watched a few of the group games I cannot help but wonder if the camera crews covering the games have been given orders to try and combat the bad publicity. I can't help but notice that irrespective of which teams have played, the camera crew and editors are taking the time to seek out attractive looking young women to appear on our TV screens. It's almost as if we are seeing screen tests for Europe's Next Top Football Model. These close up shots of young women are also being supported by images of families and young people enjoying the festival of football - and why not?

Showing the happy, sociable side of football won't do anything to stop the racists looking for victims inside and outside of the stadia, but at least from a public relations perspective it is showing the world that there is more to football than the images we sadly witnessed on Panorama.

What do you think - are they trying to paper over the cracks?

Parker PR is a leading Public Relations agency based in Nottinghamshire providing PR and marketing services to UK clients. Contact us on 01623 6398023