Photo by Retha Ferguson on Canva

Emerging out of the pandemic

As for many organisations, 2020, and the unique difficulties created by the pandemic, proved a huge challenge. PressPad had to pivot quickly to continue to live up to our mission of creating opportunities for those from disadvantaged backgrounds and to #diversifythemedia.

Despite those challenges, we were still able to achieve a lot in 2020.

We launched a vital and new online service #PressPadRemote as a response to lockdown.

We successfully crowdfunded to keep that programme going for a minimum of 4 months in 2021 hiring a Head of Programmes and Content and dedicated assistant to achieve this.

We were able to make advances in how we will deliver our host-mentorship scheme – in spite of the fact we couldn’t host a single intern because of the pandemic.

We did this by using part of the money raised through our 2019 #DiversifyTheMedia crowdfunder – originally intended to fund a coordinator to run the scheme – to build our host mentorship platform, integrating safeguarding measures and data impact measurement. (We still intend to hire a coordinator with future funding and when hosting can resume).

Our new platform is not “just a website” but an incredibly exciting and innovative bit of tech that we hope will allow us to keep PressPad’s future costs down and allow us to stay lean but scale our impact.

In 2021, as the pandemic dragged on we were able to make use of government schemes and opportunities to continue to grow.

In the first half of this year we have:

  • Recruited 5 part-time team members via the Kickstart programme working in areas from marketing to web development to business and sales.
  • Recruited 1 part-time team member to support the launch of the marketplace web platform
  • Launched a charitable foundation and started a funding relationship with the Duke & Duchess of Sussexes’ Archewell Foundation

Now in the second half of 2021 PressPad aims to:

  • Launch the beta version of our host-mentorship scheme using our new marketplace web platform, creating a sustainable paid-for model with bursaries for those who cannot afford the fee. We are launching this thanks to the partnership with a large news organisation that will use our platform to provide accommodation for their interns.
  • Recruit hosts for the beta launch of the platform.
  • Expand our successful free online Covid support programme #PressPadRemote, run it for at least 4 months from September and plan for its sustainability.
  • Better communicate what PressPad is (a social enterprise and a charitable foundation), how we are set to operate going forward, what our priorities are and how we achieve those – including more regular updates on how we use any public funding we receive and revamping our current website to better communicate our services for our different users and stakeholders.
  • Continue to stand for and speak up for our progressive values and improve access to careers in the media for all minorities, and particularly those who come from outside of London and are from low socio-economic backgrounds.
  • Continue to operate as a part of a generous, supportive, collaborative and open coalition of organisations all trying to improve diversity within the media. There are a lot of great schemes, programmes, entrepreneurial publications and groups and we believe there is space for everyone – and a need to work together.

You’ll agree that’s a lot to keep us busy for the rest of the year! We’ve learned so much and continue to do so.

We’re excited that we’ve been learning all of this alongside you by our side, challenging, supporting and keeping us company.

As always, if you want to get involved, you can sign up as a volunteer for PressPad Remote or sign up as a host for the beta launch.