We can’t quite believe it is nearing the end of April already! As always, we’d love to share with you, the latest edition of Cedar Garden Sessions. 

This month, Hannah, our Brand & Web Marketing Officer, is interviewing Comms colleague, Jason Hulbert about his role as Press Officer for Penny Brohn UK. 

Hi Jason! Thanks for popping down to the Cedar House from our lovely warm office today. 

[Jokes] Oh well, it’s a bit nippy out here but it’s no problem. 

[laughs] Glad to hear it! So Jason, tell us a bit about how you came to work for Penny Brohn. 

Well, as you know, like yourself I have come from a background of journalism. My particular work was for regional papers, writing news articles and the like. When the recession hit, I ended up leaving journalism, as I had decided that I wanted to use my skills as a force for good. I love the charity sector – feeling part of something positive and beneficial to society – so I jumped at the chance to join Penny Brohn to launch and run its first full-time press office.

As a fellow journalist I can definitely understand the move from journalism to third-sector work. Sounds like a positive move! So tell us what your role involves, day-to-day. 

Ok, I run the press office to maximise our media coverage, from events and fundraising to regional service promotion and national mainstream or medical features. I also produce the biannual booklet, which I am always particularly proud of, and fortnightly internal newsletter (the Ginkgo) – because it’s important to keep staff and volunteers in the know.

Of course! I live for the Ginkgo! [laughs] No, in all seriousness, it’s a great communication. So are there any extra duties you do, as part of the team?

Well, I always pride myself on mucking in where necessary, so as you’e aware, I’m always happy to help with social media and take photos when needed.

Yes! So grateful for that. 

And then, of course, as we are part of the wider Fundraising and Marketing Team, there are additional fundraising duties and volunteering at events to help raise funds and the profile of the organisation. It’s always good fun and high-spirited at the events.

Great! So what is the most exciting thing you’re working on at the moment?

We are gearing up for Mad May, which is completely manic and includes many incredible fundraising events, including of course the prestigious Ladies’ Long Table Lunch. This includes the annual Jackie Collins Inspirational Woman Award, which goes to… Sorry, I must keep schtum, so it doesn’t spoil the surprise [laughs].

[Laughs] Yes! Keep that one zip-locked for a while longer yet, or you’ll be in trouble… Moving quickly on! What would you say is your favourite part of the job? 

Without shadow of doubt, the clients and their families. They are immensely inspiring. Seeing how our free courses uplift and empower them to take control of their health and wellbeing is unbelievable. They may arrive upset and distressed, but the transformation is phenomenal – they always leave more positive and ready to tackle things.

What a heartfelt response. That’s really lovely and I can totally concur on that. It really is quite special to see. So, is there any particular highlight of your time at Penny Brohn so far? What has felt particularly special? 

Hmm… that’s a good one! So, I had only been here a month when we heard that Jackie Collins had sadly passed away from breast cancer, naming us in lieu of flowers. We were knocked for six, and, I did my utmost to ensure we had all the media coverage we could – well over 600 mentions, including many national pieces – from one humble statement. That initial press coverage really helped me to feel I had made my mark, and everything from there was onward and upwards.

Ah yes – that was just before my time but still pretty big news when I arrived, so you definitely made an impression there! So this is it. We are at the big question; the ultimate moment. What is your favourite dunkable biscuit? 

[Laughs] Well, I am flabbergasted that no one has mentioned the humble Hobnob. This is an outrage and I will do all that I can to see this brill biscuit top your charts.

[Laughs] What a choice. I am pretty astonished it hasn’t been mentioned yet too but here we are. I think you have a pretty good chance of knocking someone off our podium but you’ll have to wait and see. 

I look forward to it!

1. Custard Cream
2. Caramel Chocolate Digestive
3. Hobnob
4. Regular Digestive

Thanks to Jason for joining me for April’s Cedar Garden sessions. The biscuit leader board has finally been shaken up and this month, the Hobnob takes third place, pushing the digestive off the podium. 

We’ll be back here with another member of the Penny Brohn team next month. So keep an eye out for the next edition.

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