Cornwall businesses help raise money

Why I chose to #FollowTheFairies anyway

More heavy rain tapped on the streets of Falmouth this morning as somehow another Friday has sneaked up and hoodwinked us into thinking this means a day of rest. Sometimes this is the case, but this week doesn’t seem like one of those weeks.

Gearing up for all sorts of things that need to be sorted for my trip to help families in Ecuador prepare small cacao plantations; whilst trying to meet deadlines for clients from Truro to Trowbridge and ‘Cisco to Singapore; something about those pesky fairies goaded me into ditching the pressures of PR; the wonders of writing; and use my words for free.

If corporations are helping people does it really matter?

Marketing magic or fairy dust?

Arguably, a marketing campaign on both their part and mine, the fairies tell us to help people; as they are doing. To raise brand loyalty, yes. But also to actually help people. Unlike the M&S campaign, I don’t have heaps of money to throw at sensationalising my ‘good deeds’. I just work some extra hours and – yes – probably feed my Florence Nightingale complex. Will I gain recognition by working for free? I doubt it. I’m an atheist so I don’t think it secures any afterlife for me.

But I didn’t get into this industry to make loads of money, though. I did it to feel empowered and move away from an education system I felt was demonstrating the wrong values to students; perpetuating stigmas. I did it because I actually love words. I did it because I want to empower local communities to create opportunities for young people. And I continued with it because I have started to see the changes taking place.

Albeit subtly.

I wax lyrical about patience and tenacity; the two being major players in the long waiting game of content marketing. At the same time, I run consuming PR campaigns, liaise with businesses from foragers to wine experts; cacao farmers to counsellors and most things in between. I type and tap and edit and ponder and I feel permanently unable to catch up with my to-do list.

And yet in the middle of this frantic world of rushing photos here and articles there, and getting x linked up to y; sometimes it’s good for me to just remember what’s really important. So, when a little girl I used to babysit for (who is now 30…) asked me if I can help to raise awareness about her campaign to help Abi walk, I took the fairies’ advice and I used some of my day to help get this campaign some traction.

I’ve always felt with charity that I can give time more than money; having still not got out of my student overdraft. So even though I know my ‘good deeds’ are perpetuating a campaign for a big corporation, and even though writing about them instantly devalues their altruism: hopefully they will help, in some small way, to make a difference to someone’s life.

Free Press for Sponsors

Having enjoyed my work with social and community based project Bude for Food so much last week, I have some big plans for events unfolding in 2015, as do the committee for the event.

Hundreds of thousands of people visit Cornwall annually for its breathtaking beaches, stunning sunsets, and a pace of life that is unmistakably relaxed. Whilst our tin mines now sit redundant; creating striking images against the backdrop of the sea, many forget the horrifying past of the hazardous conditions workers, who were often children, had to work in.

In Cornwall, poverty is still an issue, and festivals such as Bude for Food help to pull together communities to create training and employment opportunities for the people living in the area. Having been a teacher in Cornwall, I am aware of the ways in which some families are disadvantaged and have ideas about how best to support them. 2015 will see some exciting events in Falmouth.

Social workers in Cornwall work tirelessly to provide support to and empower some such families, often working well over the required hours and having had to face cuts and salary freezing over the last few years. Two social workers from Cornwall are planning to use their holiday to visit Ghana, West Afriaca, and deliver vital support to children subject to trafficking.

Whilst many children are still being exposed to the dangers of mining labour, from the age of 6 above ground and 12 below, this is happening overseas and so we are often unaware of it. Girls as young as 10 are sold into prostitution, where they are often subject to vengeful sexual violence and regular beating. They then have to endure a lifelong social stigma when they are outcast once they reach maturity.

Sadly, social work is not something that is commonly practised with individuals who appear to be physically fit, but these children are in urgent need of psychological support and social work input. Lisa and Karen plan to visit Ghana in February 2015; joining Projects Abroad to volunteer for 3 weeks. Using their skills as social workers, they will help enhance the limited support available to these children and their local communities. Intending to contribute significant savings of their own, advisors from the organisation suggested raising some funds through pledges.

The women’s time will be spent supporting children to  increase literacy and numeracy; many do not complete schooling and are therefore illiterate. Their work will also promote early childhood development;  improve hygiene levels; and  increase emotional support and care to the children. Lisa said, “I know we can make a small difference; the continued aid work contributed to children like those in Ghana will change their lives. We’re grateful for any donations to raise support for this cause.”

I have contributed a donation but being a young company, I am offering to share my skills and time to help promote the campaign on the ladies’ behalf. I will write and issue a free press release for any companies wishing to donate to this essential aid work and help Lisa and Karen along the way. Any additional funds raised will allow the women to take extra resources, leaving a legacy to promote independence and freedom from slavery.

To make a donation to this cause and get your free press release, please visit http://www.myprojectsabroad.org/fundraising/WQDqZm or http://www.myprojectsabroad.org/fundraising/4yEgl4 and contact laura@palavermaven.co.uk