Very regrettably, I will no longer be working as the Press Officer for Exercise TRANSGLOBE. There is a statement from Project Officer Sqn Ldr Cottrell below that explains the difficult internal situation further that has led to this decision.
Suffice to say, the Exercise has not lost my support however, I cannot afford to give my time on a pro bono basis through to the end of July. There was a miniscule budget set aside to retain me and which I offered to work within – they now need what’s left of it for more important things.
Whilst I have been working for next to nothing to maintain some form of profile for the Exercise for the past few months the funding has been running out; the website doesn’t function properly (there’s no retained webmaster) and there just isn’t the internal support that is required to support a PR role anymore. It was their decision, not mine. It’s a really sad outcome.
This is Sqn Ldr Neil Cottrell’s statement as issued this morning to sponsors and partners:
EXERCISE TRANSGLOBE ANNOUNCEMENT
It is with the utmost regret that the Steering Committee of Exercise TRANSGLOBE has been forced, by circumstances beyond our control, to prematurely end the highly successful partnership with PR Works. The Exercise funds have been consumed by the alterations to the crew changeover flight schedules arising from the damage inflicted by the Southern Ocean on HMSTV CHALLENGER, the Army crewed vessel during Leg 8. CHALLENGER is now several weeks behind the other two vessels and low cost, non-transferrable airfares for her crew have been lost and have had to be refinanced. The delay also means that only two yachts will compete in Antigua Sailing Week events. CHALLENGER should rejoin the schedule in mid-May.
These unexpected costs have consumed the remaining budget for Exercise TRANSGLOBE and we simply do not have the funds to retain PR Works as our PR agency through to the end of the Exercise in July 2010.
The Steering Committee thank Peta Stuart-Hunt for the outstanding work she has done on behalf of the Exercise and want to place on public record that we have always received the highest professional service from Peta since the start of the Exercise. Peta has worked tirelessly and effectively on our behalf and if we had the finances available we would certainly not have asked her to cease being our PR consultant at this stage of the Exercise.
Starting in 2009 in the depths of the Recession, Exercise TRANSGLOBE has had to be run on a slender budget as we failed to win major commercial sponsorship and the MOD support has been commensurate with the need to maintain Front Line budgets for ongoing Operations. The Steering Committee has been forced into cost cutting measures to ensure that the Exercise remains financially viable. Indeed, the MOD-wide budgetary pressures have also impacted on the Project Team such that only Andy Scott will remain as a full-time member of the team. Both Neil Cottrell and Clive Cooper have been re-assigned to permanent duties but will remain as part time Project Team Members.
Peta Stuart-Hunt is the epitome of the consummate PR professional. We have highly valued her advice, the depth of her knowledge and the outstanding value of her reports to the Media that have kept TRANSGLOBE in the public eye. We really did not want to lose her support.
Project Team Leader