Sister Act – Charitable Foundation Expands our PressPad Family

Sister Act - Charitable Foundation Expands our PressPad Family

The new charitable foundation joins a long line of important institutions helping British journalism – and hopes to encourage more efforts to improve diversity.

PressPad has a sister charity – The PressPad Charitable Foundation. It’s hit the headlines recently because (drum roll please…) one of our first donors is the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Archewell Foundation. The team at PressPad are incredibly honored and grateful for this donation and the publicity it has brought to the larger PressPad mission, which began with our host-mentorship pilots and social enterprise work almost three years ago. 

Our mission is to help improve social mobility within and diversify the media industry and it seems now, more than ever, this issue is at the forefront of many people’s minds. The ongoing pandemic has created an even more uneven economic playing field for those attempting to break into the industry, which will only get worse as the impact of Covid on the economy is felt. The rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK and recent tragic events that have seen women speak out about sexism, harassment and abuse in the wake of Sarah Everard’s death have also heightened issues around minority groups and their voices in society. 

The way those events and movements have been covered in a lot of the media have often made our media companies and journalism institutions part of an objectionable and inaccurate, or at times abusive, narrative – not the accurate, fair, constructive and representative forum they should be for these important societal discussions.  At PressPad we have been aware of these issues and voices for a while, and the modest and often insufficient efforts to improve the situation. While a lot of what is going on is incredibly depressing, we hope that each outrage will help the media industry to sit up and take note of the problem and act to amplify different voices.

Fundraising event with PressPad team (2019)

The PressPad team is small, but that doesn’t stop the mighty and long-term goals we have. It was a shock to us all to be recognised by such a high profile and international couple, with such a powerful platform to bring about change. It was a truly surreal feeling for our team as we were covered everywhere from ITV to the Guardian to Hello! 

The awareness this has brought to such a pertinent issue is unparalleled, especially since new audiences are becoming more aware of the issue of media diversity and the organisations trying to bring positive change. 

Some clarity – while PressPad, our social enterprise which works to deliver our unique host-mentorship platform, has been around since 2018, The PressPad Charitable Foundation is a new organisation but the two organisations – while separated in terms of governance and funding models, exist to support the same mission. The foundation will allow loss-making charitable activities previously carried out by the social enterprise to be funded for by grants and donations, and overseen by a board of trustees. This also allows our social enterprise host-mentorship platform and model the best chance of achieving financial sustainability, scale and longevity, and enhances our ability to deliver in an area where there is still so much work to be done. This write up by our friends at Journalism.co.uk is particularly helpful at laying this out.

Our plan for the gift from the Archewell Foundation will be primarily to put it towards previously raised funds from our crowdfunder (huge thanks to our loyal community of supporters!) to deliver another season of PressPad Remote. Thanks to everyone who delivered training and support in the first season at the height of the first wave of the pandemic last year – and thanks to all those who attended and spread the word about it. 

Other funding, in due course, will be put towards smaller charities working in this space to help them with programmes for niche communities. PressPad is just one organisation but there is so much work. We don’t aim to compete with others helping in this space but rather to lift up great projects and networks – of which there are now too many to mention (we’ll be bringing more resources and information on how to find them all to our website soon) – and celebrate all efforts going on to make improvements.

Our last crowdfunding team

Many journalism charities share our mission and have been around for much longer than we have. Some of these include: The Media Trust, The Printing Charity, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Public Interest News Foundation. We truly stand on the shoulders of giants and are keen to provide our own approach to tackling issues hampering our industry – leading foremost in the area of social mobility and representation.  

We particularly applaud what must be the oldest media charity, the Journalists’ Charity (started by Charles Dickens in 1864 – how cool is that!?), for just launching a new scheme, the First Jobs Fund, to help entrants to the media industry. We’re delighted that they are also now thinking more about diversity in the industry as a whole and have expanded their mandate in this way. We hope that more joined up thinking on the problems that exist will help. The Journalists’ Charity writes: “The fund will offer support with essential costs such as accommodation, moving home, transport and essential work-related equipment” much like our own bursary scheme once it is up and running. We hope that many will choose to use their grants from schemes like this to stay with our experienced host-mentors using accommodation that isn’t just much more affordable than most (£150 a week) but that also includes holistic and specialist mentoring support and networking. A valuable experience according to former interns! Our host-mentorship programme is temporarily on pause due to the pandemic but we aim to have it up and running in the second half of 2021

#DiversifytheMedia

PressPad wants to build on the generosity of the Archewell Foundation to reach new audiences across the globe – and we want you to get in touch with your thoughts about media diversity.  You can find us on all social media platforms or email us directly at info@presspad.co.uk. We believe change is a collective responsibility so whether you’re an individual journalist, a newsroom, a concerned and engaged citizen, a parent of a future journalist, a network or a charity yourself, we want to work with you. Do get in touch!  

I am so proud of the PressPad team – we’ve worked very hard to keep our resources available and free to use. PressPad Remote Season 2 will be launching next month – but right now we are still in that warm bubble of disbelief. Thank you to everyone who has donated, shared and participated in PressPad to date. You can find out more on our Foundation page of the website including links to our governing document and Charities’ Commission page. We’re excited to continue our work into this new chapter!