We use a network of associates who bring a wide range of experience and expertise to the company
Furner Communications uses a network of associates who bring a wide range of experience and expertise to the company which ensures we use the best people for relevant projects. That means you get a flexible, cost-effective and results-focused approach.
Ben began his working life at the BBC before moving into media relations, first at the disability charity Scope then at Age Concern England (now Age UK). After two years in a PR agency to broaden his experience, he set up Furner Communications.
As well as running the company, Ben has been an expert advisor to the Department of Work and Pensions, writes periodically for a range of publications including the Guardian and runs disability equality workshops. He’s also a member of the actor’s union, Equity. Yes, really.
Sarah’s background is in television as a producer for the BBC, so she brings widespread knowledge of the world of broadcasting and film. But she is more than this; alongside her range of project management skills, she has extensive experience in developing, planning, managing and evaluating events. Sarah used to be a nurse, so what they say about the importance of a portfolio career is clearly right.
Ben and Sara met whilst working on the Mental Health Media Awards; she’s since had stints working in the design departments of the RNIB and the Science Museum. As well as handling our design requirements, she also pitches in as camera/sound/production manager when we run media training sessions. At weekends, Sara can be found DJing for children’s parties when she’s not looking after her young daughter.
Sophie spent five years as chief executive of the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) before going into consultancy. Her skills include developing and supporting professional networks, stakeholder engagement and event design and facilitation (she’s trained in Open Space Technology). She also does projects supporting boards and teams in strategic and operational planning, as well as research and evaluation assignments. She doesn’t have much spare time on account of her daughters, Josie and Charlotte.
Agnes spent seven years at the Disability Rights Commission and was the director of policy and communications by the time she moved into consultancy in 2007. She’s since worked with a myriad of organisations, mostly in the public and third sectors. She has a fondness for regular trips to Sardinia but hasn’t invited any of us to go with her yet.
Sue and Ben worked in the Age Concern England press office together and have been colleagues on and off for 20 years. Sue has since worked for Oxfam and the British Red Cross as well as heading up the Soil Association’s media office for four years. She was also TimeOut.com’s ethical consumer editor. She gets the prize for ‘most right on’ member of the team.
Lisa is a writer, editor and journalist and our resident digital guru, leading our work on reviewing and implementing digital strategies and content. She also reviews books for national newspapers and specialises in explaining complex ideas in simple, comprehensible language. She is currently researching a biography of William Hayley, an 18th century eccentric, but her funniest book is Stage Mum.
Richard started his career in the social housing sector, and has spent most of it working for charities, most recently at director level at Amnesty International and Capability Scotland, the country’s biggest disability charity. Richard has a wealth of experience, including policy development, and campaign and strategy planning. He’s the only one of us who lives north of Watford Gap, but we let him off because he’s extremely good at what he does.
Chris is also a writer, and communications consultant, with a health and social policy background. His career includes stints as a journalist on a range of publications and working in the press offices of the Audit Commission and the Department of Health. Chris is lead officer for the communications work with the Housing Learning and Improvement Network account. For leisure, he supports Liverpool FC but we don’t hold that against him.
Alyson has extensive communications experience working in the social policy field. Previously head of media at the Disability Rights Commission, her background is in the voluntary and not for profit sector. Before moving into PR she spent ten years working in national and local radio. She has a house in the South of France and a waiting list for visitors.
We also work less regularly (but always effectively) with a number of other freelance associates who we know and trust for specific projects, or if there are gaps we need to fill.
“The media training always hits the spot. Whether working with experienced spokespeople or comparative novices, trainees go away with greater confidence and improved technique.”Christina McGill, Habinteg