It’s time to introduce our second key partner, Plain Speaking PR. Hannah Freeman from the East Anglian PR agency explains why it’s important for them to be doing ‘PR for good’ – and why they want to partner up with Folk Features
The team at Plain Speaking PR, based in Norfolk and Suffolk, are exactly that: plain speaking, straight-talking PR professionals. The communications agency was set up more than 15 years ago by Pippa Lain-Smith and the team is also made up of another experienced, senior-level PR professional, Hannah Freeman. Although very much a business and results-focused agency, Plain Speaking PR’s mantra is ‘PR for good’. ‘PR can be a powerful tool when used in the right way,’ explains Hannah Freeman, senior account director at PSPR. ‘By connecting businesses, organisations and communities we can make great things happen.’
Plain Speaking has been working with Sue Lambert Trust, the main charity in Norfolk which supports people who have experienced sexual violence or abuse, for almost a year. The Trust supports more than 300 people every week in Norfolk with therapy and counselling services. ‘The services are in such demand,’ says Hannah. ‘They need more money, and they need more qualified counsellors who are happy to donate their time on a weekly basis. In fact, it costs £2000 a year for the Trust to fund and support one fully qualified volunteer counsellor.’
Plain Speaking PR also works with Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing, a social enterprise based in South Norfolk. Hannah explains: ‘These tiny therapy donkeys visit care homes, SEN schools and residential settings providing joy to a wide range of people. We help to spread the word about the fantastic work they do and support with promotion of their fundraising activities.’
Headway Norfolk & Waveney, which supports people who have an acquired brain injury such as through a stroke or accident, is another local charity Plain Speaking PR has worked with in the past. ‘Last year, we supported the Headway team with its ‘Hats for Headway Guinness World Record’ attempt,’ says Hannah, ‘a challenge which Folk Features kindly backed too, throwing a hat in the air on Zoom to set a new world record!’
Dipple & Conway Opticians is one of Plain Speaking PR’s longest standing clients, and is the headline sponsor of the Break Charity GoGoDiscover Learning and Community Programme. The independent family-run business is an active member of the local communities in which it operates (Norwich, Swaffham and Diss) and recently gifted three local schools Breakasaurus sculptures as part of the GoGoDiscover art trail.
‘Whilst we work with a wide range of commercially focused organisations, all our clients have strong values which we identify with. We love being involved with, and telling stories about, projects that are good at heart. It’s the human side of PR – showing that good business can make a positive difference to their communities and the people around them.’
Hannah joined Plain Speaking PR six years ago. By this time, Pippa had already established that working from home was the way forward for the agency. She says of first meeting Pippa: ‘We just clicked, and the flexible set-up of the business really appealed.’ And then the pandemic and the whole work from home mandate happened. ‘Plain Speaking PR was well ahead of the curve, using technology to allow people to work from home whilst maintaining effective communications with each other and clients. ‘Pippa is based in Norwich, and I’m on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. Most of our clients are in the East of England but many work across the UK.’
So why has Plain Speaking PR come forward to become the second key partner of Folk Features?
Hannah replies: ‘We love what you’re doing at Folk Features – it’s such a breath of fresh air to read nothing but positive, upbeat, heart-warming stories and learn more about the people running small businesses, charities, and not-for-profits – and all the brilliant work they are doing.
‘Folk Features uncovers positive stories about real people who are doing amazing things…perhaps overcoming challenges or turning a corner, pursuing a passion, or taking a different view on solving problems in our region. It’s a positive read and totally fits with our mission of #PRforgood.’