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MOTW Staff Workshop – February 2022

Asian Lady sitting at a desk in front of her laptop on a video call

At the February All Staff Workshop we welcomed three MOTW staff members who’d asked for the opportunity to speak to their colleagues in a relaxed and informal setting.

The first speaker was Carolyn Milburn, our Marketing & Communications Lead.  She was keen to tell everyone about the upcoming marketing plans that will take us through to the closure of our referral window in September of this year.

Carolyn wanted Moving On Tyne & Wear to ‘go out with a bang’ so set about coordinating different popular advertising options that spanned across the region.  The campaign, which is the last one to ever be delivered, runs from the beginning of March 2022 until the end of April 2022.

The aim is to encourage as many people as possible to get in touch and refer themselves, or someone they know, into the programme.

The dates were chosen to allow people time to digest the information and give them the space they need to get in touch when they’re ready without running the risk of missing our referral window.

There are three main elements of the campaign.  The first consists of two adverts running on Metro Radio, who have a large coverage area across the North East with a population of over 1 million people.  The majority of Metro Radio’s listeners are female, which is perfect for Moving On Tyne & Wear who are also using this campaign to try and attract more women onto programme.  Our two ads will run for 8 weeks, and we’ll be on air a total of 72 times each week.  This gives us a great estimated impact, and on top of that our ad will be played via instream channels too.  We’ve had radio ads in the past and it’s always been a popular channel with referrals and links to referral partners coming in as a result, so we’re all hopeful this continues with this new campaign!

The second element is around the Nexus Railways.  Carolyn has secured a 6 week time frame where Moving On Tyne & Wear ads will be seen across multiple stations and within the trains themselves.  Two carriage card panels will display our information within each train carriage currently in operation, and we’ve got 19 stations across our region displaying our posters too!  Carolyn’s made sure to get posters in the stations that fit our audience demographic, and given us every chance of success by securing the bigger, most popular stations such as Haymarket, Gateshead Interchange and Central.

And finally, the last element of the campaign are some Advertorials and Adverts within the Metro Newspaper.  Over 47,000 copies of this free publication are distributed across the North East each day to the bus and rail networks.  The idea is that people will see us in the station, see us on the train and read more about us in the paper.  A series of ads have been produced, two case studies have been sourced, and two editorials written.  We look forward to seeing us in print!

This is one of the biggest campaigns in the programme’s history

Carolyn has done an amazing job co-ordinating the work so that each element of the campaign is aligned.  She’s designed and written all the material herself and it’s hoped her hard work will help us reach all our targets and help everyone who needs us before the programme sadly closes in March 2023.

Our second speaker was Jess Mundy, Moving On Tyne & Wear’s Programme Support Officer.  One of Jess’ many responsibilities is to monitor our Cross Cutting Themes.

We’ve seen a number of new starters join the Moving On Tyne & Wear programme recently and Jess wanted to explain in more detail what is meant by Cross Cutting Themes and use the opportunity to share some thoughts and gather ideas into what else as a programme we can do.  Cross Cutting Themes have been defined by The Lottery (one of Moving On Tyne & Wear’s funders) as:

  • Sustainable Development is about meeting the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It recognizes the need to balance environmental, social, and economic considerations when designing and delivering activities.
  • Gender Equality & Equal Opportunities is the need to treat everyone equally, regardless of race, sex, gender reassignment, age, religion and belief, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy and maternity, or disability.

It’s important that Moving On Tyne & Wear evidence that we’re working towards these and when the programme began in 2017 we created an Action Plan, which focused on the Operational Level.  The plan made sure we had policies in place around the Cross Cutting Themes and meant we kept these in mind when looking at publicity or creating job descriptions, as well as helping us ensure all our offices were accessible.  We worked through the action plan throughout the first few years and completed every action listed.

Jess then began asking each team for their feedback on what they were doing locally in relation to the Cross Cutting Themes and reporting on them every quarter at the Operational Group Meeting.  We’d hear about training opportunities, engaging with particular organisations and volunteering.  Everything achieved has been recorded on an Action Log and reported back to The Lottery.  The teams have been creative with their ideas:

North Tyneside introduced a successful Wellbeing Walk where they also litter pick.  They meet every two weeks and it’s proving hugely beneficial and popular with their participants.  It’s also great for the environment as they remove bags of litter each time.

Our South Tyneside Team have been encouraging their participants to help with the Crisp Packet Project.  Empty crisp packets are collected, cleaned and made into blankets for people who are homeless.  The litter isn’t going to waste, the community is benefiting, and the participants are enjoying volunteering and socialisation.

Jess wanted to speak at the Workshop as she wanted to discuss where we could take the Cross Cutting Themes going forward.  After recently attending a BBO Event, she heard of some more unique ideas from other programmes such as:

  • Cycling Classes for participants and Walk and Talk meetings, where people can get out in the environment, socially interact, and participate in exercise.
  • A Coat Swap where participants brought in their old coats and swapped them for someone else’s. The fashion industry has a huge detrimental impact on the environment, so this activity helped minimise this whilst benefiting the participants who would be gaining new clothing items.
  • Donating shredded paper to participants who had small pets. This reduced the need for them to purchase similar products for their pet cages and reduced the office waste.

Jess asked everyone to go away and have a think about some more creative ideas we could implement across the programme.  She’ll soon be organising some idea sessions where everyone can talk through what they’ve come up with and a new action plan can be created to get the ideas turned into reality.

Our final speaker was John Facchini, an Employer Engagement Officer within the Moving On Tyne & Wear’s Pathways Team.

John has recently organised a series of Autism Awareness Training sessions that he will be delivering to businesses across the Tyne & Wear region.  The aim of his training is to help employers see the strengths and benefits of employing someone who is autistic, however for our training he talked about how we can support our participants who are on the spectrum giving us hints and tips around communication techniques, body language and expectations.

The training session was brilliant, and we all came away feeling empowered with a deeper understanding and increased knowledge.  John’s passion for creating equality and acceptance for those who are autistic shines through.  Here is a very brief flavour of the things he covered…

  • John spoke about common myths such as ‘Autism can be cured’.  But this isn’t true!! He talked through some of the proposed cures that have been suggested over time, and some of the high-profile names attached to them.  Some cures have even been proven harmful, but all of which are irrelevant as they don’t work.  What actually happens, is that people who are autistic develop and learn their own coping strategies and mechanisms to help them deal with particular situations in a different way.
  • Language can be confusing.  Think about what you’re saying, what you’re asking or what you’re instructing a person who is autistic to do.  For example, don’t say ‘can you wait a minute?’ as the likelihood is someone who is autistic will take it literally and wait precisely one minute before coming back to you.  Be clear about what you’re saying to help improve your communication and interactions with autistic people.
  • John spoke passionately about the strengths and talents of autistic people, and how these can, and should, be utilised by employers. Examples include their exceptional honesty, they’re typically punctual and like to follow a schedule, they can be very detail orientated and logical thinkers and can be especially gifted in one or more subjects.

For anyone wanting to learn more about Autism and how to support someone who is autistic, we would thoroughly recommend joining one of Johns upcoming training sessions.  Find out more and book your space by clicking here.

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