I live in Bristol, I come from Plymouth and we have family and friends right across the South West. I, like many people in the UK and beyond have been moved, concerned, worried – but in my case, not directly affected by the flooding and the impact it is having on our region. Unless you count the 30 minute delay into and out of Paddington on Monday, which I don’t.
This post is not about making any kind of political statement, there have been a lot of those, it’s actually about galvanising support and doing one of the things I really enjoy in life, getting people together to see what a difference we can make.
The rather amazing Maureen McAllister, after leaving the SW RDA, kept the Twitter account @SouthWestUK, I’m a follower. Last evening I saw that she had been increasingly using the #openforbusiness. Just earlier in the day I had made a note to call some of the CIPR members in the SW and some other friends in deepest Cornwall, to check they were OK. Not a ‘can I bring you a sand bag’ call; but more a ‘is business OK?’ call. Maureen, it has turned out is way ahead of me. She, more or less single-handedly, was making good on her promise to retweet anyone who sent a message to @SouthWestUK, with the supportive hashtag: #openforbusiness. Nothing more than a Twitter hug, if you like.
So today, an email has gone out to all CIPR members across the region, asking for their support. We need help for the next two months and beyond. Help with managing the social media, of course, but also in thinking about how we can support the fantastic region we work in, for the short term, the medium term and the long term. I hope you will offer some help if you can.
I have also taken the chance to offer personal support to those members who have been dealing with the mass of media interest, customer queries, politicians questions – and so on. I have personal experience of how exhausting crisis communications can be, as those of you who have heard my presentations and lectures will know. If you are doing crisis comms, through this period, you must look after yourself. Please get in touch if you need someone to talk to. it’s a bit like an ‘emergency mentor’ service.
There are no sticky plasters when such a prolonged period of disruption sets in, we know that. But we do believe that many hands make light work, or hopefully in this case – make the rains stop!
If you want to get involved, get in touch.