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16 January, 2019 - 14:42 By Kate Sweeney

Conscious lives up to its name and scoops national award

Cambridge public relations and marketing agency, Conscious Communications, has been named Community Business of the Year at the SME National Business Awards.

The award recognises a company’s continued commitment to giving back to the community – a category traditionally won by shops, farms, or any other business that has been created to benefit the local community through sustainable trading.

Conscious Communications, based at St John’s Innovation Centre, has a history of giving back to the community it serves. 

The company selects a ‘Charity of the Year’, to which it gives PR and marketing support throughout the year. Conscious chose The Cogwheel Trust as its 2018/2019 Charity of the Year, an  organisation that offers a range of counselling approaches – from psychodynamic therapy to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Since it was founded, The Cogwheel Trust has provided more than 90,000 counselling sessions, helping more than 20,000 people in Cambridgeshire.

Other beneficiaries of Conscious Communications‘ community spirit have included St Nicholas Hospice Care Charity, Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre, and this year, Tommy’s, which funds research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.

Additionally, each employee of the company is allocated two days a year to volunteer at a charity of their choosing. 

The Conscious team coordinated the FIRST® LEGO® League Cambridgeshire event’s logistics, school liaison, marketing and public relations, working alongside tournament hosts Qualcomm Technologies and the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering in October of last year. 

The  FIRST® LEGO® League is a global science and technology challenge that saw 100 young people from the Cambridgeshire region build and programme robots to compete in a regional challenge heat. Winners of the regional heat will go on to compete at the UK and Ireland final in February 2019 and, if successful, progress to the World Festival in Detroit, Michigan.

Maths education guru Bobby Seagull and volunteers from Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd., Marshall, Arm and Cambridge Science Centre are among supporters of the FIRST® LEGO® League Cambridge regional tournament.

FIRST® LEGO® League, one of four programs offered by FIRST, is an annual international competition which sees over 250,000 young people (in 32,000 teams) from across 88 countries, come together to develop their STEM skills.

Alison Taylor, managing director at Conscious Communications, said: “Supporting education, social mobility and positive community projects is the absolute essence of our agency and team. In 2016 we established FXP Festival – a games design and development competition for school and college students – with the aim of increasing social mobility in the region and developing local young people’s digital and team-working skills. 

“We are very pleased that our experience running FXP Festival, paired with our strategic expertise and ethics, have allowed us this opportunity to support the IET FIRST® LEGO® league – an exciting, global initiative.”

The SME National Business Awards is designed to celebrate and raise the profile of innovative SMEs and highlight the huge impact of smaller businesses at a local and national level. 

Taylor added: “We are thrilled that the judging panel has seen that, although we might be small in terms of head count, our impact is anything but small. What makes us different is that we think first about the impact of our work on others and second about the impact on our own bottom line – this manifests itself in our work with our wonderful clients, our charitable initiatives and pro-bono support we offer selected charities.”

Alongside the community focus of all of its business, the agency recently calculated that it donates a third of its working time to charitable initiatives.

Taylor said: “Receiving accreditation for the work that we do is always a fantastic feeling, however receiving it on a national level for the community work we do locally is testament to the power of a community focussed business approach. We put social responsibility at the heart of our business.”

The agency won at the SME Cambridgeshire Business Award in 2017, the PR Week ‘Force For Good’ Award in 2017, and was a finalist for Corporate Purpose in the Drum Agency Business Awards.

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