July 19

The CEO and Peppa Pig

(A small, pink, bossy-but-loveable cartoon character who loves jumping in muddy puddles, for those who don’t know. That’s Peppa, not the CEO.)

I’ve recently attended several fascinating talks, including talks by Kevin Watkins, the CEO of Save the Children UK, and Peppa Pig (not together, unfortunately! That would have been interesting).

Save the Children UK are great at holding “lunch and learns”; so far during my assignment there hasn’t been a week without at least one midday talk. Anyone can pitch up with their packed lunch and listen to another team sharing a project they’re working on, a career conversation with Kevin, or an outside speaker offering ideas or perspectives based upon their work.

The Global Brand Manager for Peppa Pig came to talk about consistent branding and why Peppa has endured as one of the favourite characters of pre-schoolers for years. Peppa and Save the Children have a great relationship already – they’ve both set up the annual Muddy Puddle walk in which children can raise money for other less fortunate children by donning wellies and splashing in as many puddles as possible! See here for the last one and if you have kids, make a note for next year.

[No picture of Peppa Pig sadly, since, as a publications professional, I have ‘a healthy respect’ 😊 for copyright. So here’s a muddy puddle instead]

Muddy puddle

It’s funny, many people think of Save the Children as being a humanitarian aid organisation working in war-torn areas of the world. It is, but it also does a lot of work here in the UK, working with the poorest families, championing children’s rights and lobbying government. It’s desperately sad that there is so much need right on our doorsteps, and often so much of it is hidden. Some other examples of the work of UK Programmes include:

  1. “Wonder Words” – a project which uses nudge theory to remind parents of the importance of talking and engaging with children right from birth. I was shocked to learn that by age 3, the most disadvantaged children in the UK are linguistically 17 months (that’s half their lifetime!) behind their more affluent peers. Wonder words uses subtle prompts on all kinds of things from change mats to bibs, and via chatbots, to encourage parents to engage. Such a simple intervention can make such a difference to children.
  2. “Make Childcare Work” campaign – the UK has a new benefits system called Universal Credit which aims to help more families back to work. Support for childcare can be claimed under Universal Credit; the problem is that childcare needs to be paid for upfront before the child has even entered nursery and isn’t reimbursed until a month later. This puts families living in poverty hundreds of pounds in debt and struggling to make ends meet by month end. Save the Children UK is campaigning for the government to change the system so that childcare costs can be paid directly to the provider instead of forcing families to try to scrape the money together, or fail to take advantage of the scheme altogether. You can add your name to the Make Childcare Work petition here.

In a future blog I’ll outline some of the humanitarian work Save the Children does, and where my project fits in. For now, I’m looking forward to next week’s talk on ‘Families Connect’ – a project focussing on the parent’s role in early childhood learning…and maybe I’ll pick up some tips!