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Communications Conference 2022
Virtual Conference

Event Finished


Thu, 31 Mar from
09:30 to 15:30 (BST)



From £180

Thank you to those who attended the conference, we hope you enjoyed it.

At the virtual Communications Conference we explored the future of digital media, internal communication and tackling stigma.

The platform sessions are available on demand for 3 months after the conference for those who attended.



Member Price £180

Non-member Price £250

Programme Listings

10.00: Chair’s opening remarks  

Duration: 10 minutes 

10:10: Plenary one: Changing behaviours through communication

Duration: 40 minutes 

Speakers: Michael Higgins, Senior Strategy and Insight Manager, Scottish Government and Shane Donnellan, Senior Consultant in Behaviour Change and Engagement, Changeworks. 

How can we use communications to positively influence people’s behaviour, including around issues such as energy efficiency and fuel poverty?

Michael will be lifting the lid on the development of the Home Energy Scotland advertising campaign featuring Doug The Caterpillar. Highlighting the specific audience insights and strategic approach that led to the development of the campaign, he will outline why the campaign was a success in driving calls and website visits.

With the dramatic rise in energy costs, tenants will likely be increasingly worried, and at risk of, fuel poverty. Shane will draw on Changeworks’ experience of helping tenants in the current climate with best practice in communication and supporting behaviour change. 

10:50: Technical break

Duration: 10 minutes

11:00: Plenary two: Digital media – the way forward * 

Duration: 40 minutes 

Speakers: Ross McCulloch, Director, Third Sector Lab and Rebecca Pattie, Communications and Media Officer, Hillcrest Homes.

Social media is constantly evolving, with new platforms and changing algorithms. What could the future hold for digital and social media, and what should you be doing now to try and reach your key audiences?

Ross will discuss digital strategy, and Rebecca will highlight the social media platforms Hillcrest uses, along with how these are utilised, to raise awareness of the organisation, recruit staff, advertise properties and more. She will also be discussing the challenges Hillcrest faces around online communications and how it aims to increase engagement with stakeholders in the future.

*Please note there is a change to the programme and Engaging people in everyday subjects will now be held as a standalone session later in the year.

11:40: Networking break

Duration: 20 minutes

Grab yourself a coffee and meet up in the networking hub.

12:00: Plenary Three: Tenant consultation: What does this look like in a hybrid world?

Duration: 40 minutes

Speaker: Max Scotto, Tenant Participation Officer, Kingdom Housing Association.

As we continue to return to a more ‘normal’ way of life, what does the post-pandemic future hold for tenant consultation? Is virtual consultation here to stay or do we need to take a hybrid approach?

Max will discuss Kingdom's recent work and what 'hybrid' means to his organisation.

12:40: Lunch break

Duration: 40 minutes

13:20: Plenary four: Internal communication – engaging with colleagues to get measurable outcomes

Duration: 40 minutes

Speakers: Josephine Graham, Internal Communications Lead, Bradford Council and Stuart Darroch, Group Communications Manager, Wheatley Group.

Covid has likely changed how we work forever. Whether your organisation is working from home full-time, back in the office or taking a hybrid approach, how can you ensure you’re reaching your colleagues, keeping them up to date, and helping to promote a positive organisational culture?

We all know that data and research are key, but as internal communicators we don’t always have the resources needed to gain in-depth insights about our audiences. Josephine will look at how we can use the data we can access – plus a little empathy and creativity – to understand audience segments and better reach colleagues with a mental wellbeing campaign.

Wheatley Group was named the winner of the best ‘Internal Communications Campaign’ in October 2021 at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Pride Awards for Scotland. Stuart will tell us about the winning entry, ‘Working in Lockdown: Team Wheatley Bringing Staff Together’, and the story of how the communications team helped keep staff fully informed, engaged and connected during the pandemic.

14:00: Technical break

Duration: 10 minutes

14:10 Closing Plenary: Tackling stigma through communications  

Duration: 35 minutes

Speaker: Lindsay Cochrane, Senior Communications Officer, See Me.

People can face stigma for a number of reasons – their race, sexuality, socio-economic status, disability and beyond. It’s often rooted in out-dated stereotypes and falsehoods – and can prevent people from speaking about their experiences or asking for help when they need it.

At See Me, Scotland’s programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination, communication has played a key role in challenging attitudes towards mental health. Lindsay Cochrane, the programme’s senior communications officer, will share how See Me has used campaigns and people's personal stories to challenge the stigma that still exists.

14:40: Conference close 


This programme is correct at the time of publication. We reserve the right to make alterations or substitutions if necessary. All timings may be subject to change. Views expressed by speakers at the event or in documents or notes provided are their own and may not necessarily be the views of SFHA.  


You can view the SFHA privacy policy at www.sfha.co.uk/privacy-policy



Ross McCulloch profile image

Ross McCulloch
Third Sector Lab

Ross McCulloch is the founder of Be Good Be Social training and events, as well as Direcor of Third Sector Lab. He has worked with a wide range of charity, housing association and public sector clients on social media and digital strategy, including Relationships Scotland, SCVO, Oxfam Scotland, SFHA, Linstone Housing Association, Viewpoint Housing Association, Enable Scotland, and Breast Cancer Care.

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 Ross also sits on Foundation Scotland's Impact and Innovation Committee and is Chair of Comic Relief's Community Cash Glasgow funding panel.

Stuart Darroch profile image

Stuart Darroch
Wheatley Group

Stuart Darroch is the Senior Digital Communications Officer at Wheatley - Scotland’s leading housing, care and property-management group.

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He is an award-winning public relations and digital communications professional having spent a decade in the industry.

At Wheatley, Stuart helped develop and design 10 new websites for the organisations within the Group and leads on 15 social media channels.

Prior to his digital role, he was a Communications Officer for Wheatley and Scotland’s biggest social landlord, GHA.

Stuart previously spent more than 12 years in journalism, working as a senior sport journalist for local and national newspaper titles.

Shane Donnellan  profile image

Shane Donnellan

Shane is the organisational lead for social research and provides specialist expertise around engagement and behaviour change. Shane leads the Changeworks’ approach to maximising the impact of engagement through blending behavioural science with best practice engagement techniques. 

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Shane project manages a range of research and intervention projects, including recent research for the Scottish Government exploring the consumer impacts of wide-scale decarbonisation approaches.
An experienced facilitator and trainer, Shane delivers workshops, webinars and training to staff at housing associations, local authorities and private sector organisations


Michael Higgins profile image

Michael Higgins
Scottish Government

Michael has worked in in the advertising industry for 16 years, working across a diverse range of clients from both the private and public sector.  

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Having worked agency side as a Planner, responsible for the research and strategic direction of campaigns, he is now client side within the Strategy and Insight team at the Scottish Government.  Passionate about climate change, Michael will be outlining the strategic approach behind the Home Energy Scotland advertising campaign featuring Doug the Caterpillar.   

Rebecca Pattie profile image

Rebecca Pattie
Hillcrest Homes

Rebecca Pattie is a Communications & Media Officer at Hillcrest, a diverse social organisation providing housing, care, support, maintenance, skills and employment opportunities for people and communities throughout Scotland. 

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Rebecca has worked in the Communications & Media team for over seven years and is responsible for promoting the work and achievements of Hillcrest through writing press releases, creating social media campaigns, video production and more.

Josephine Graham profile image

Josephine Graham
Bradford Council

Josephine Graham has worked in internal and corporate communications for over 15 years and is currently the internal communications lead at Bradford Council. 

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She is an active member of CIPR and volunteers on the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire regional committee. You can connect with Josephine on Twitter @iojosy and on LinkedIn.

Lindsay Cochrane profile image

Lindsay Cochrane
See Me

Lindsay Cochrane is a media and communications professional with over a decade of experience, starting off in magazine journalism before moving into marketing and communications. 

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Lindsay is currently the senior communications officer at See Me, Scotland’s programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination, overseeing the organisation’s media activity, digital and social media output, and campaigns. 

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