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Insights about Social justice

Racism – it isn’t us and them, it’s us

I don’t feel very powerful most days. But I’m cloaked in power, as are the other senior leaders at Forster. Those levels of privilege may vary, a private education here, the male chromosome there, but there is one area that is entirely consistent – we are all white. ... more

Tackling isolation through digital innovation

Last week brought to a close, a 10 month project which we have been working closely with our client Nesta Challenges and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on, to launch the Tech to Connect Challenge – an England-wide competition to scale tech-based solutions to reduce social isolation. Tech can be alienating or ... more

Where’s the action on International Women’s Day?

It’s International Women’s Day. Which means a lot of things are all happening at once. We’re celebrating the truly amazing achievements of women around the world. We’re also calling for equality of opportunity and recognition. Richard Herring is no doubt spending the day on Twitter reminding disgruntled users that, yes, there is an International Men’s ... more

Three Weddings and a Dress

It started with someone borrowing trousers for fancy dress, then something for a wedding, a graduation and so on. We now swap Winter coats for whole seasons and lend each other entire holiday wardrobes. At Forster, our ever-increasing understanding of the environmental and human cost of fast fashion meant that many of us no longer ... more

Fashion, fashion, fashion.

I cannot deny the joy I get from a retail fix. Unfortunately for my bank balance doesn’t feel the same. At fifteen, I self-identified as a shopaholic. I was always lining up outside East London charity shops or trotting around South London looking for the latest vintage pieces for the outfits that I had already ... more

Where we are, where we want to be

Where we are, where we want to be Forster has been living and breathing sustainability issues for our entire existence and central to that is our commitment that we always walk the talk. Even before we became a founding UK B Corp, we were committed to being transparent about our impact – good and bad ... more

Movements – the Holy Grail for social change or the voluntary sector’s magic unicorn?

I was recently asked to come and do a short talk about movements at a civil society event, partly because I’ve worked on a few recently for charities and businesses, and partly because Forster has a long history of developing and promoting movements for social change. The first thing I do before giving a talk ... more

29 July 2019

Turning sustainability cynics into storytellers

Your business purpose is clear and you have a strong social change ambition – but now it needs to become a reality.  How can you find the tipping point where ownership shifts from a few individuals to a company-wide culture that is hardwired into decision making and behaviours? Typically, employees will be segmented according to ... more

Could the future of high streets help drive a more sustainable economy?

In high street stores only a short hop from home I can mend my own jeans, screen print a T-shirt, fix a flat tyre or even build a whole bike from scratch – all at thriving independent businesses. Last weekend, I spent a good 3 hours tinkering with my bike whilst a patient London Bike ... more

28 January 2019
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Will the new code crack it?

This week, the Wates Principles were published as new guidance for large private companies, reiterating the need for them to behave in a way that benefits society as well as the economy, building trust and confidence among all stakeholders. It is an important moment, recognising the impact of the private business sector, and sits alongside ... more

Time for charities to show their workings

Scandal – if it were a commodity that could be traded, some investors would have become seriously rich this year as we have been drowning in the stuff. It is hard to think of a sector that hasn’t been hit by scandal in 2018 and sadly that includes civil society. The Oxfam abuse scandal put ... more

12 December 2018

Person centred social care – is it too much to ask?

You could hear a pin drop as the all too familiar stories were told. One from a council worker who is trying to provide assistance to an elderly couple in their home. His physical condition is deteriorating, but the only person whom his wife – managing some mental health issues of her own – trusts ... more

16 November 2018
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Adapting communications to changing lives

Earlier this month saw the publication of the government’s loneliness strategy and there is much to applaud in it. Firstly, it is great to even have a strategy for such a critical public health issue, and secondly, it is fantastic to see businesses such as Royal Mail playing an active role in tackling it. It’s ... more

26 October 2018
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Social media: more than just chatter

Love it or hate it, social media is an integral part of any campaign or news release. With entire teams dedicated to creating content, it can sometimes feel that your social media output is all that matters. But, when used correctly, social media is an incredibly powerful tool for insights. Recently Vice launched Recognise Me ... more

19 October 2018

Employers need to prioritise flexibility

We have produced a diverse range of toolkits for employers recently, on behalf of Public Health England and Business in the Community, the most recent being one on domestic abuse which launched this summer. The issues we’ve covered are very different, but there is a common thread that runs through them all – the importance ... more

21 September 2018
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Five ways to tackle racial discrimination within recruitment and in the workplace

Over the past two decades, educational attainment and employment has risen across Britain, especially amongst ethnic minority groups. The proportion of black men getting a degree has increased by 24%, compared to 15% for white men. [1] So, why is it that black male graduates are earning hourly on average 17% less than their white male ... more

22 August 2018

We need safe spaces to challenge the status quo

Every year the UN celebrates International Youth Day, and this year the theme is Safe Spaces. A ‘safe space’ is not a tangible or physical location, more a descriptor of a culture in which people can share their experiences without judgement, in an environment where they can exist free from violence, harassment, or hate speech. ... more

Delivering the Sustainable Development Goals is everyone’s business but how do you convince everyone else of that?

This week Measuring Up, the first comprehensive assessment of the UK’s performance against the SDGs, was released. It makes for tough reading. The UK is performing well on only a quarter of all the goals, and the profound problems of poverty and malnutrition are on the rise. This matters for every business in the UK ... more

You are not alone

How do you solve really big problems? The answer never changes but always bares repeating – by working together. There is of course something very romantic about a lone visionary labouring away in a lab / garage / garden shed to conjure up game-changing inventions, innovations and insights, but the reality is far more likely ... more

How are we helping get more underrepresented groups into employment?

Advances in technology and the economic case for getting more underrepresented groups into employment highlight the need to support and deliver better services and resources for learners and job seekers. This Employability Day #EmpDay18 we’re celebrating businesses actively making a difference, improving society and changing lives in this area. Working with Young Women’s Trust, we ... more

28 June 2018
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How can we ensure the PR industry is more diverse?

13% of the UK population is black, Asian, mixed or other ethnic group – we are a pretty diverse society but that isn’t reflected in the PR industry, as it is in so many other aspects of British life. Does it matter? If you believe that drawing talent from the widest pool possible and that ... more

31 May 2018

Effing up but owning up

In light of the recent Oxfam scandal, brands and charities must take a closer look at their history – especially the areas they’d prefer to forget. Every big brand will have a skeleton or two in their closet. It’s practically unavoidable in multi-national large scale companies; especially in the case of charities. For every amount ... more

8 May 2018

We must share our stories to challenge the status quo

International Women’s Day is the day of the year that women celebrate each other’s strengths and empower each other in the next step for gender equality. It’s the day where we herald the heroic, shout out for those that are making changes and give a hand of support to those that are in need. Being ... more

8 March 2018

What are you waiting for?

What if all companies were forthcoming and honest about their mistakes or successes? With the deadline for gender pay gap reporting only a blink away, and a call from the government for employers to publish their ethnicity pay gap, transparency is no longer optional. And whilst some organisations are still not convinced that the new ... more

8 March 2018

Think Global, Act Local

PR agencies spend a lot of time talking about living their values, for themselves and their clients. It is an important thing to do in an industry that gets shaken by scandals like Bell Pottinger every few years, where companies have forgotten that this mantra needs to be practised and not just preached. It was ... more

Can money really ever be good?

The fact you are more likely to divorce your spouse than change bank accounts is so well cited that it’s a cliché. There are, obviously, a thousand reasons why this is the case. But, one of them certainly seems to be apathy. Or at least a feeling that not much would change by changing the ... more

Shared parental leave: the ultimate balancing act?

When I first announced I was pregnant to friends and family, one of the first questions many asked was ‘how long are you taking off work?’ Maybe this is because I’ve consistently and vocally made a virtue of enjoying my work. Maybe it’s because I’ve worked hard to achieve a relatively well-paid and responsible role, ... more

20 December 2017

The link between money sense and number sense is too easy to ignore

Wendy Jones, a trustee at our client, National Numeracy, outlines why numeracy is such an important issue when to comes to tackling debt and financial exclusion, and calls on financial service providers to take a lead on helping current and prospective clients improve their numeracy. The other week I rang my bank to open a ... more

20 December 2017

Poverty …Time for a rebrand?

Are we too posh to talk about poverty? It would seem so, judging by the latest report from the venerable Joseph Rowntree Foundation. ... more

5 December 2017

Gen Up on Gen Z

Generation Z is sometimes referred to as the iGeneration. Born in the late 90s and through the 2000s they’re a diverse group of people who’ve never known life without the internet – they are digital natives. Gen Z are a key audience to instigating mass social change; 66% of teachers think current 14-17 year olds ... more

8 November 2017
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Bringing diversity and inclusion into the heart of a business

Diversity and inclusion is increasingly recognised as being vital to business success because the benefits of inclusion and diversity are clear. A range of backgrounds, faiths, genders and ethnicities bring new ideas, innovation and practices that can vastly improve operations. There are countless reports and studies which show the impact increasing diversity can have on ... more

28 September 2017
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Should you believe everything you read?

There is a timely quote from the film, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” The film was made in 1962 and set much further back in the American Wild West, which shows that fake news and sensationalism aren’t new concepts. However, both have probably never been as ... more

28 September 2017

When the Drugs Don’t Work

As someone who has enjoyed summer music festivals for almost ten years, being around people using something other than alcohol to keep them partying is par for the course. About one in 20 people age 16 to 24 have taken ecstasy – a common festival drug – in the last 12 months, ONS figures suggest. ... more

24 August 2017

Communication needs to be free from assumptions and biases

The Social Market Foundation estimates that raising disability employment to the national average would boost the UK economy by at least £13 billion. On average, disabled employees are just as productive as non-disabled people, have significantly less time off, fewer workplace accidents, and stay in their jobs longer. They have inside intelligence on the “purple ... more

24 August 2017
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Aim High

Beyond compliance – this is not a phrase to stir the soul, but encapsulated in those innocuous words is the difference between a responsible business and a progressive one. We should rightly celebrate some hard won legislation that compels organisations to improve their performance, such as recent ones on Gender Pay Gap Reporting and National ... more

24 August 2017

Bridging the Gap

The term “hard to reach” is often used to describe a number of groups within society that are seen as difficult to engage with, those regarded as disillusioned with politics and democracy. Often this term is laid at the feet of youths, the illiterate, ethnic minorities, those who barely know or participate in democratic processes. ... more

14 August 2017

Transforming Lives in Kenya

We’re delighted that, last week, our groundbreaking campaign with Astellas Pharma Europe, Action on Fistula, won Excellence in CSR at the 2017 Communiqué Awards. Launched in 2014, the Fistula Foundation’s set out to transform the lives of women in Kenya living with fistula: an injury caused by prolonged obstructed labor. Supported by a grant from ... more

12 July 2017
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Business and Society

To support the launch of “Core – How a Single Organizing Idea can Change Business for Good”, we teamed up with Neil, Be Inspired Films and the Ipsos Sustainable Development Research Centre to host an event that would bring together businesses and experts in sustainability to discuss the ideas raised by the book. Looking out ... more

SOI – an idea whose time has come

This book has had a long gestation. I’ve spent twenty five years working with organizations of every type and flavour from across the globe – multinational businesses, charities, tech start-ups, faith organizations – and there was always one quality which really marked out the good ones; they had absolute clarity in their reason for being ... more

11 July 2017

Time for change

New Ipsos MORI research released today by Forster Communications in partnership with Neil Gaught & Associates highlights the public’s strong belief that the current way of doing business isn’t working, and their desire to see business do more to make a positive difference. Just 18% of UK consumers agree the current economic system is working ... more

Responding to terrorism – head versus heart

Our office was closed early last week as it was inside the police cordon surrounding Borough Market following the London Bridge terrorist attack. It was a real jolt to see such a familiar place sealed off with police tape, to see the rubbish dropped in panic on the Saturday night still lying in the gutter. ... more

15 June 2017
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The gig economy: the role of responsible employers in correctly classifying their workforce

What do Uber, CitySprint, Excel and Pimlico Plumbers have in common? They have all been found by employment tribunals to have wrongly classified their workers as self-employed independent contractors. By doing so, they have denied them workers’ entitlements such as paid holiday and the right to be paid the national minimum wage. There are further ... more

15 June 2017

Progress never sleeps

Progress isn’t easy. A lot of the time it feels like you are swimming in treacle, thrashing about and making little headway. Even worse, it can feel like one step forward and two steps back. That is why it is important to take the time to reflect on and celebrate when real tangible progress is ... more

Managing mental health at work

Mental health is in the news more than ever;  whether it’s the royals launching the “Heads Together” campaign, the positioning of mental health in the major party manifestos in the run up to this year’s general election, or that mental health related sickness absence is overtaking muscular-skeletal conditions in non-manual employment, it’s clear that there ... more

Why the gender pay gap is still a problem – and how flex could fix it

There’s no question that the gender pay gap is firmly on the agenda. From today, all organisations with more than 250 employees are legally required to collect data on the gap between the average hourly pay of the men and women who work there. And they’ll need to report on their figures by 4th April ... more

5 April 2017

If we ran the country (or at least the communications bit)

Leadership has always been important, but it is particularly so as we enter the uncharted waters of Brexit. Our current (unelected, remember) Prime Minister is a case in point – someone who needs to show the right kind of leadership while navigating a divided country through at least two years of uncertainty and disagreement. We ... more

22 March 2017
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Men and babies

Job done, we’ve got equality in our workplace, so what’s the problem? It’s tempting to think that from the comfort of a female-empowered office like ours where our CEO is a woman, we have no gender pay gap, and where I have recently returned from maternity leave into a four-day-a-week role as a senior consultant. ... more

9 March 2017

#BeBoldForChange – our gender pay gap

Today marks International Women’s Day and with the new government legislation around gender pay gap reporting being introduced next month, debate around the causes behind and best ways to tackle the gender pay gap is louder than ever. The recently published CIPR #StateofPR report shows that women are disadvantaged at all levels in terms of ... more

8 March 2017

Businesses unite in a bid to make the UK economy ‘fit for the future’ by backing sustainable development

Over 80 major businesses have united to call on the Government to demonstrate its commitment to delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the UK and overseas Open letter to Prime Minister says sustainable development is essential for long term prosperity and the wellbeing of future generations Letter is published on the eve of the ... more

Talking – the first step to making business work for all

Our CEO Amanda Powell-Smith wonders – what would the world look like if the vast majority of businesses focused on being a force for good as well as generating profits? We might soon find out if the current appetite and interest in mission-led business blossoms into something more substantial. With the many and various body ... more

5 January 2017

It’s all about the application

In the lead up to FutureFest last month, Nesta carried out a survey which revealed that more people would rather live now than in 20 years’ time. Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive at Nesta, reminded us that our future is a choice; we have an opportunity to change this fear into possibility. “The concept of the ... more

Identity crisis for charities

As umbrella terms go, “charity” is a pretty good one to be lumped in with, certainly better than political party or bank. Despite the recent and worrying decline in public trust and confidence in the charity sector, there remains a huge well of public goodwill. It isn’t just the public either – 69% of MPs ... more

15 September 2016

Forster Communications is the only UK PR agency to receive global award for good business practice

Forster Communications has won two Best for the World awards from B Lab, the non-profit organisation that serves a global movement of business seeking to be a force for good. Forster scooped wins in both ‘Best for Workers’ and ‘Most Overall Community impact’ categories, making it the only UK based PR agency to win an ... more

7 September 2016

22 years: Proof Positive

We’ve been thinking positively and working with our clients to make real positive change for the last 22 years. Here are just a few of the things we’re most proud of which show that if businesses, governments, charities and people work together, we can make good things happen…   In 2003 we created Seeing is ... more

Now it’s cool to be kind – how to tempt in the millennials

Research by Net Impact has revealed that nearly 60% of millennials say they are willing to accept a smaller salary in order to work for an employer that shares their values. ... more

18 August 2016

Modern slavery

Theresa May has made it clear that as Prime Minister she is determined to continue the mission against modern slavery, which became one of the hallmarks of her time as Home Secretary. Within a couple of weeks of moving in to Number 10, Mrs May set up the first ever government task force on modern ... more

9 August 2016

Let’s celebrate the change-makers

Every workplace has at least one – someone who thinks a little bit more than most, who considers what can be changed rather than accepting the status quo, who has ideas they share with others rather than keeping them to themselves. For most businesses they are priceless, which makes it odd that they have been ... more

22 January 2016

Five Ways We Can All Limit Loneliness

Loneliness is a public health crisis. And one that's getting worse. It's a crisis facing individuals, so it's often invisible, yet pervasive - in organisations, at home, among the young and elderly, advantaged and disadvantaged. ... more

7 January 2016
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Bringing business to society

As the year comes to an end, you would be forgiven for believing the world has never been in worse shape. Social unrest, environmental devastation, economic uncertainty, multiple conflicts and the seemingly relentless rise of extremism – all have reared their heads repeatedly in 2015. But, you’d be wrong. The world is currently more peaceful, ... more

The issues that mattered most in 2015

The research we did earlier this year into consumer attitudes towards business involvement in social change highlighted just how important the majority of consumers feel it is for businesses to get more involved. Following on from that, we have been busy analysing the issues that mattered most to consumers over the past year, to highlight ... more

22 December 2015
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A year of digital milestones

We live in a fast moving digital world and it can be hard to keep up with all the latest innovations. Below are ten of the biggest digital developments in 2015. Sign up here to receive our regular round-up of digital news in 2016. Virtual Reality just got real Facebook launched 360 Video, completely changing the ... more

Championing change-makers in businesses

Businesses have long been at the vanguard of driving social and environmental change, and that change is often powered by an individual within the business with the passion, commitment and ability to make things happen Finding, celebrating and supporting those individuals is crucial to getting more businesses involved in positive change, which is why we ... more

Study reveals issues that mattered most in 2015

Homelessness, feminism and mental health establish themselves in national psyche As the year comes to a close and attention turns to the year that was, Forster, the communications agency working with businesses and charities to accelerate change, today reveals the social issues that most captured the nation’s attention over the last 12 months. Social media ... more

We’re in the business of action

Raising awareness is one thing, getting people to take action is another. We’ve spent 20 years successfully inspiring the latter and have brought all that knowhow together to create our new Activation practice. It will focus on helping clients create campaigns and movements that inspire people to challenge attitudes, support a cause, change the way ... more

Open wide

Journalists have been making hay with stories about poor governance and transparency, and for once charities are not in the firing line. The police, Whitehall, the NHS, universities and GPs have all be taken to task for benefitting from financial arrangements funded by the taxpayer and hidden from the public eye. The headlines make unpleasant ... more

25 November 2015
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Movements are about consumers as well as campaigners

“We need to build a movement.” “We can’t achieve all this on our own.” “Changing society means engaging everyone to play their part.” I can guarantee that most of us who have worked in the not for profit sector have heard all these statements over the course of our careers. Rightly so. Charities and campaigning ... more

25 November 2015
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Living Wage Week 2015

As a Living Wage employer and long standing supporters of the Living Wage movement, Forster was watching coverage of this year’s 4th annual Living Wage Week with interest last week. Whilst there was some excellent broadcast and print media coverage for the week, we were particularly keen to see how it was being discussed online. ... more

10 November 2015

Sincerity is key in campaign spokespeople

This week, Professor Green has received mass adulation for speaking out on an issue that’s so personal to him, yet relates to thousands of unheard voices – depression in men. The rapper, real name Stephen Manderson, lost his father seven years ago due to an ongoing battle with mental health issues that led to his ... more

30 October 2015

Pursuit of China sends wrong message to business

These are already challenging times for those trying to make the case that being profitable and ethical are not mutually exclusive. Volkswagen was a standard bearer for corporate citizenship until it emerged it lied about its vehicles emissions for years. Other car manufacturers may be implicated. This weekend it emerged that manufacturers of domestic appliances ... more

21 October 2015
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B Corps because…

There was a time in the late 20th century when any new social change movement came in from left field, pushed hard, prompted and pressurised, before being replaced by a newer, more sophisticated idea. How times have changed! Today, in a mainstreaming culture, new ideas have to focus on rapid assimilation. It helps if they ... more

24 September 2015
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Ambivalence Avenue is an undesirable address

When austerity-focused government chooses to leave increasingly demanding social issues to charities, there is an opportunity for mainstream businesses to collaborate and make a real difference. It is why we commissioned our inaugural Business to Society survey, to provide us with some evidence to support that opportunity. We asked businesses about their commitment to engaging ... more

24 September 2015
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My Wifi and I

I love my wifi, she’s there for me through thick and thin. My wifi is a great listener. My wifi has the patience of a saint. My wifi can be relied on to look after our daughter, especially when the unexpected occurs. I can’t imagine living a day without my wifi. And that day has ... more

11 September 2015

Forster Communications bolsters its reputation and campaigns practices with two senior hires

Martin Barrow has joined Forster Communications from Maitland as head of its reputation practice while Carrie Greene has been recruited from Kindred as a senior consultant in the agency’s campaigns practice. Martin was previously a partner at Maitland, advising some of Britain’s biggest companies on internal and external communications and crisis management. A former journalist, ... more

10 September 2015
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Forster Communications becomes one of the founding B Corps in the UK

Forster Communications has just become one of the UK’s first certified B Corporations, joining the community of UK Founding B Corps which officially launches in London on 24 September 2015. B Corps (‘Benefit Corporations’) are businesses of all sizes and types, independently certified to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. ... more

4 September 2015
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New annual survey finds that doing good is good for business

A new annual survey that we released this week highlights the appetite business leaders and consumers have for businesses to play a greater role in tackling pressing social and environmental issues. The inaugural Business to Society Survey found that 57% of business leaders believe they should be doing more to tackle social issues, while 63% ... more

1 September 2015
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Does the answer lie within, for communities?

With a lot of the impact of both the economic downturn and the public sector cuts still to be fully realised, there are many local communities across the UK holding their breath and fearing the worst. Some of them already feel desperate. Putting aside the rights and wrongs of this situation, it is happening, so ... more

25 August 2015
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Hello death

There is nothing new about dying. Whilst this statement is factually correct it is also the reality when it comes to the way most of us talk about and deal with death. Being the son of a priest meant that my sister and I grew up in an environment where a hammer was frequently taken ... more

27 April 2015

Women’s Aid joins with football clubs to speak out against domestic violence

Women’s Aid and football clubs around the country are coming together this week to send the message that everyone has the human right to be protected against violence, fear and intimidation at home, as part of the national campaign Football United Against Domestic Violence. We have been working with Women’s Aid and Human Rights charity ... more

24 April 2015

Growing the future

These days it is too often assumed that internships must be endured by all young people as their first step towards entering the highly competitive industries. They are sent to work with little or no pay to gain that all important experience, references and hopefully a foot in the door. This misconception highlights how the ... more

9 April 2015

Healthcare hold-ups: could a computer save your life?

Image credit: I, Robot (film), 20th Century Fox, 2004 We’ve been hearing a lot about automation and its place in the workforce lately, with technological innovations leading a dramatic shift in how we communicate, how we work but also how we deal with health care hold-ups. As a relatively new patient on the NHS and ... more

8 April 2015
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The Robots Are Coming, So Get Creative!

The future is robot shaped. They’ll probably take your job and may even have sex with your partner behind your back. And I’m afraid there’s not much you can do to stop that. You can, however, prepare yourself for your new role in society – one that is a more engaged, creative version of yourself. ... more

FutureFest 2015 Highlights: Day 2

Forster is constantly scoping trends and developments in technology that shape the way we communicate with each other, to ensure we’re keeping abreast of opportunities for our clients and the people’s lives we’re all working to protect and improve. Nesta’s FutureFest 2015 was recently held in London, and we were there to learn and emerge ... more

27 March 2015

FutureFest 2015 Highlights: Day 1

Forster is constantly scoping trends and developments in technology that shape the way we communicate with each other, to ensure we’re keeping abreast of opportunities for our clients and the people’s lives we’re all working to protect and improve. Nesta’s FutureFest 2015 was recently held in London, and we were there to learn and emerge ... more

27 March 2015

The Body Confidence Awards

We live in a world awash with awards, so how do you make the one you are involved in stand out, be relevant and help further your overall objectives? We were presented with precisely those challenges recently with the Body Confidence Awards, which sat at the heart of Body Confidence Week, the vehicle being used ... more

20 November 2014

Forster Communications signs up to the government’s Think, Act, Report initiative

Forster Communications has joined the government’s Think, Act, Report initiative. Over 2.2 million employees now work for businesses that promote gender equality at work. Think, Act, Report, introduced in September 2011, encourages companies to think about gender equality, take action to promote opportunities in their workplaces, and report on what they are doing. Minister for ... more

30 October 2014

Come out and play

Forster has been working with several clients who recognise the importance of play in the lives of children. Intriguingly, some of these organisations you wouldn’t ordinarily associate with the light-heartedness of play. In the common knowledge that play is not what it used to be, they’re all coming at it from different angles, too. Is ... more

7 July 2014

Teens fly high as we launch ‘Evolution of the Teenager’

In June, we oversaw our first media campaign launch for National Citizen Service, the UK’s flagship youth programme. NCS is a two-three week placement for 16-17 years olds which brings teens from different backgrounds together and helps them build confidence, learn skills for work and life and develop social action projects that help their local ... more

7 July 2014

National Citizen Service

Forster has won a retained brief to work for the newly independent National Citizen Service. NCS, which is open to all 15 to 17 year olds in England and Northern Ireland, brings together young people from different backgrounds and helps them develop greater confidence, more

16 April 2014

Raising the dead

Why it’ll take more than Tinie Tempah to get young people voting. I’m worried about the state of political engagement in the UK. A quarter of respondents to a recent Guardian/ICM survey said that they were instinctively bored about politics and politicians. As someone with an A-Level, BA and MA in the subject I agree ... more

5 February 2014

What’s in it for you?

While businesses are used to getting into the hearts and minds of their customers, Jilly Forster wonders how come empathy is dropping away and how can companies revitalise this most important of human emotions? We all understand sympathy. Someone is suffering. We see it, we may do something about it. We may not feel it. ... more

13 November 2013

Future positive

Rip up the past, make new rules Unlike governments, which seem enfeebled and out of time everywhere, more and more businesses are realising that they can change the world for the better by putting purpose at the centre of everything they do. In the UK, when we need to be looking ahead, much of 2014 ... more

Rip it up and start again

Today we’ve launched our new winter insight report, “Rip it up and start again” to inspire businesses to think differently about how to create change 2014.. It’s full of provocations, ideas and inspiring examples of businesses bringing their energy, flair and innovation to bear on a range of issues from an ageing population through to reducing wasteful ... more

Sowing the seeds for positive social change

The sun has shone more than most had dared hope, but not everyone’s having a lovely summer.  The Trussell Trust has announced that increasing numbers of families are struggling to feed their children throughout the break, let alone enjoy the good weather. more

14 August 2013

We’re not allowed to discriminate… but we do

Last week Forster had a session on becoming a dementia friends. For those not familiar with the scheme this is an hour’s interactive briefing run by Alzheimer’s Society, designed to make people more aware of what it is like to have dementia and the problems those with the disease encounter on a daily basis. As ... more

Balancing the challenges in the Early Years sector

How parents bring up their children is an emotive hot potato for politicians, campaigners and parents alike. Having children brings into focus values. Irrespective of whether you follow the traditions from the past, or actively try to avoid your parent’s mistakes, parents feel that what they do is the best choices for their children. more

16 July 2013

Greater ambitions for young people in care

Guest post from Puja Darbari, Strategy Director at Barnardo’s The Government is currently addressing the support it provides for vulnerable children in its Children and Families Bill. Although these young people are among the most vulnerable in our society and this is a prime opportunity to do the right thing by them, there is nothing ... more

16 July 2013

Employee recognition is a communication strategy

Should sports personalities get MBEs for just doing what they do? The political positioning following Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win was somewhat sickening. I’d rather recognise and celebrate people who have dedicated themselves long-term to tackling and making a difference to the root causes of injustice and unfairness in the world. more

16 July 2013

5 ways we can all limit loneliness

Loneliness is a public health crisis. And one that’s getting worse. It’s a crisis facing individuals, so it’s often invisible, yet pervasive – in organisations, at home, among the young and elderly, advantaged and disadvantaged. What can we do about loneliness? Here are some suggestions. In Paulo Coelho’s book ‘Eleven Minutes’, loneliness is the worst ... more

18 June 2013

Look No Hands

At a time when the disability agenda is dominated by cuts to services, undignified changes to the Disability Living Allowance and the corresponding impacts on personal dignity and choice, AbilityNet is launching a campaign called ‘Look No Hands’ which provides genuine cause for celebration. From Monday May 13th to Friday 17th May 2013 AbilityNet is ... more

14 May 2013

Pint of best? That’ll be £50,000, sir

How would you incentivise young men not to drink and drive? Tasked by the Department for Transport to develop a PR programme, Forster decided to hit them in their wallets. Over the years, many a creative approach to convey drink drive messaging has been developed, with varying success. When Forster was asked to create a ... more

22 April 2013
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Streetlink pricks the conscience

‘Homelessness is a notoriously complex issue to solve,’ says CHERYL CAMPSIE. ‘Since we launched StreetLink in December, enabling the public to help via a hotline and website, over 1,500 rough sleepers have been found across England and now are in contact with services.’ StreetLink is a new hotline and website which enables concerned members of ... more

22 April 2013

Google launches £2m hunt for Britain’s most innovative social entrepreneurs

How would you use technology to change the world? If you are a British non-profit, Google is inviting you to tell them how you would use innovation to solve a specific social issue on a grand scale. On 25 March,Google launched the Global Impact Challenge, inviting British non-profits to tell them how they would use ... more

Reasons to be optimistic this IWD

“Women just want something to moan about. They’ve got the vote, what’s the problem?” I genuinely overheard this comment during a conversation about gender equality between two blokes on the train to Brighton. more

8 March 2013

Purposeful change takes time

Recently, with friends from the RSPCA, The Body Shop and the wider animal welfare movement, Forster finally celebrated the EU Directive banning the marketing of cosmetics tested on animals. This was the culmination of over three decades of purposeful activity. While much of Forster’s client communications work can be instantly measured, evaluated, refined and adapted, ... more

7 March 2013

‘Public interest’ – whose interest is it anyway?

As we teeter on the brink of a triple-dip recession and the Bank of England considers introducing negative interest rates, budget cuts will inevitably be on the mind of every government department, local authority and UK household. Scaling back public spending is an unfortunate but necessary evil, and means that we need to establish and ... more

4 March 2013

Comms tips for the new development framework

The deadline for the Millennium Development Goals is fast approaching. We have just under 2 years to achieve all 8 goals, and while there has been great progress on eradicating poverty, many of the others now appear woefully unattainable. more

28 February 2013
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Work with the world

How did we arrive at the horsemeat scandal? What led to the need for Hugh’s Fish Fight? Jilly Forster, says it’s time for organisations of all kinds to work in partnership with the world. An increasingly watchful, digitally remastered global public cannot be duped for very long by policies or practices that defy the rational ... more

13 February 2013

Using the carrot rather than the stick

‘Helping people to make better choices for themselves’ is what David Halpern’s ‘nudge’ unit has been tasked with by David Cameron; exploring ways to encourage us to behave in more socially responsible ways by relying on incentives rather than regulation. Have your audience at its heart, make changes simple, emphasise the personal benefits and incentivise ... more

11 February 2013

Helping you help rough sleepers

The Met Office is predicting three consecutive nights of zero temperatures this week. If you are sleeping rough these temperatures are life-threatening. Over 2000 people are estimated to currently be sleeping rough on any one night in England So the launch of the new StreetLink hotline and website yesterday, which will help connect rough sleepers ... more

13 December 2012

Sexism and female only spaces

‘Do you think there’s a difference in the way that you and your female colleagues are treated?’. It was a tricky question for a man to be asked in a panel discussion with an audience of three hundred women. But Guardian journalist Tim Dowling replied without hesitation: ‘Oh yes. I get away with murder.’ This ... more

20 November 2012

Time to change the way we communicate the value of art

The art world, and particularly how we foster and develop it in Britain, is in a period of crisis. And if you haven’t noticed that, then it’s a worrying testament to the way we debate and celebrate the creative processes in this country. Not only are institutions struggling to reprioritise their cultural direction on the ... more

7 November 2012

Extend foster placements for teenage care leavers and watch them shine

It saddened me to read Department of Education figures which show that the number of teenagers leaving care early, with little support and poor prospects, continues to rise year on year. Your teenage years are some of the most vulnerable you’ll ever experience yet increasingly too many teenagers are being encouraged to leave care, and ... more

31 October 2012

A more equal society

So, it seems that I have mostly lived out my career in a working world far removed from that experienced by most people. more

11 October 2012
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International Day of the Girl

Plan International today celebrates the first ever UN International Day of the Girl  – which the organisation has campaigned to create –  as a way of highlighting the importance of investing in girls to transform communities around the world. For Plan International the day will be used to launch their Because I am a Girl ... more

11 October 2012

The Ellie Effect

The euphoric image of our 17 year old Paralympic poster girl, beaming from ear to ear after winning gold brought tears to my, and I’m guessing thousands of others, eyes. You can’t fail to be moved by Ellie and the Paralympians overwhelming joy, passion, skill and self-effacing style. They truly are super-human. So will the ... more

6 September 2012

Giving Young People a Sporting Chance

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past few weeks, you are probably at least dimly aware that the Olympics are nearly upon us. One of the main reasons London secured the Games ahead of Paris was the focus the bid put on legacy, specifically the positive impact the Games would have on ... more

24 July 2012

Walking in someone else’s shoes

If you could stand up for change and take a step towards global tolerance, would you do it? more

23 July 2012

White paper fails to tackle the care crisis

So two years after the coalition government’s agreement to make reform of care funding a top priority and a year after the Dilnot commission reported, the government has published its white paper on the future of care for adults and particularly older people. The publication has been greeted with disappointment and bitterness. Put simply, why ... more

11 July 2012

The Bomber Command Memorial – a fitting tribute for all?

A memorial to the men of Bomber Command was finally unveiled yesterday, sparking off the debate once more about the rights and wrongs of venerating men who took an active role on one of the most controversial elements of World War II. The fact that even 70 years after the event, it still generates such ... more

29 June 2012

Plugging the kindness deficit

It used to be pretty easy to be kind. Before the banks started losing billions down the back of the sofa in 2008 many of us were living comfortable, complacent lives of plenty. So being kind to each other and those we deemed to be in more need than ourselves wasn’t difficult. Security and a ... more

27 June 2012

The self esteem network

To be 15 in 2012 is an unimaginably different experience to being 15 in 2004. Facebook was merely embryonic, Twitter didn’t even exist, and while many people had a mobile, smartphone wasn’t yet a word. The prevalence of social networks means young people are more connected, and more exposed, to their peers than ever before. ... more

18 June 2012

Girlguiding UK and the ‘TOWIE’ generation

Brace yourself; and think back to your teenage years. For most this recollection brings a bitter sweet mix, a longing for ‘good old days’, swiftly followed by a large involuntary shudder at the rollercoaster of emotions, changing friendship groups and knocks to your fragile self esteem. Being a teenager in the 90s was one thing, ... more

18 June 2012

Role Models today – who deserves our admiration?

Role models are seen as very important in children’s lives and some would say the true power of strong, ambitious role models has been lost in society today. The Florence Nightingales and Rosa Parks figures that once would have stood out as meaningful, inspiring individuals have been replaced by reality TV stars and famous-for-nothing faces. ... more

12 June 2012

It Gets Better

Before I start writing this blog, I should declare an interest. I worked with Dan Savage, the brilliant, inspirational originator of the It Gets Better campaign years and years ago, when I ran a DIY campaign to market two of his books, Savage Love and The Kid.  more

15 May 2012

Another way to tackle the care crisis?

A white paper on care is due out shortly and it’s almost a year since the Dilnot report on reforming care funding. So it’s remarkable that the government seems no closer to reaching a way forward on the pressing issue of how we pay for better care for our ageing population. Yet without urgent action ... more

14 May 2012
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Outrage isn’t enough

Children’s charity Barnardo’s approached us in late 2010 with a brief to develop the messaging and creative for a campaign that they wanted to launch around the crime of child sexual exploitation. As a team we were challenged. Personally, some of the team found the issues really difficult to confront, those of us with teenage ... more

9 May 2012

Time waits for no government

If you have anything to do with Social Care in this country you will be feeling exasperated and let down today by the Queen’s speech. Only a draft Social Care bill, but a full bill for House of Lords reform. The Government has its priorities the wrong way round. Political expediency is getting in the ... more

9 May 2012

Welcome to the ‘we’ generation

It’s often suggested that we live in more selfish, individualistic times than ever before. Yet look around.  I see more examples of people coming together to fight a cause than ever took place in a so-called gilded age of community ‘when we were young’. more

8 May 2012

Good news for citizen journalism

The Daily Mail, The Sun and the now defunct News of the World, were all implicated or exposed as players in the dirty business of phone hacking. Over the past six months we’ve seen countless celebrities queue up to tell their stories of violation, bribes and door stepping. Some would say not entirely unexpected of ... more

19 April 2012

Work is good for you

Disability and work has been a theme this week.  I heard Chris Grayling outline his vision for supporting people with long term health conditions back into work, alongside progressive employers like BT who have helped hundreds with chronic conditions stay employed. But it wasn’t by accident that the conference was held at KPMG; the business ... more