RECaid launches to help ex-Barkers employees

RECaid launches to help ex-Barkers employees

A group of senior figures from across the recruitment communications industry has got together to form RECaid, a benevolent fund for the industry launched with the immediate aim of providing help for former employees of Barkers affected by the company's demise.

The fund is being launched in partnership with NABS (the National Advertising Benevolent Society), which will oversee its management and use.  However it is specifically designed to benefit the recruitment advertising sector.

Although Barkers was recently bought out of administration, saving jobs in the process, many other former employees lost their livelihoods and their promised redundancy pay, and now face severe hardship as a result.  The fund aims to raise an initial £100,000 to help these people in particular.

The immediate focus will be an event designed to celebrate the world's oldest advertising agency at one of London's most exclusive clubs, the Paramount at the top of Centre Point (101-103 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1DD; nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road).  The club has agreed to donate its event space for the evening of Friday 17th July at the request of Work chairman Simon Howard, who is on the RECaid Committee.  The event will be able to accommodate 400 people, and is open to all.  Entrance is £10 a head (payable on the door), all of which will go to the fund, and there will also be a variety of raffles and competitions to raise further funds on the night.  To help keep a track on numbers, please email your name to by 5pm on Wednesday (15th July) if you're planning to attend.

Jon Dobinson, executive creative director of other, is chairing the new fund.  He commented: "It is barely a week since the news of what had happened at Barkers broke, during which it has become clear that hundreds of people may face the prospect of severe hardship.  We want to show that their industry has not abandoned them and provide a channel for the many people who want to help.  It's not about charity, but trying to give back something of what they have lost to those who had, in some cases, spent their entire working lives at Barkers.  Longer term, the partnership with NABS offers a lifeline to people throughout the recruitment advertising industry when they really need its help."

NABS chief executive Lucy Owen added: "The situation that the staff from Barkers are facing is one that is sadly all too common throughout the advertising industry at the moment, with talented people finding that, through no fault of their own, they are facing unemployment and financial hardship, possibly for the first time in their careers.  NABS is committed to supporting everybody who works in the advertising industry and I am glad that we will be able to work with the organisers of RECaid to reach out to the recruitment advertising sector.  The fact that these senior figures have decided to take steps to help their colleagues is a clear parallel with the work that NABS does as the need for the advertising industry to support the industry is at the heart of our vision."

The RECaid committee also includes Simon Bolton (executive creative director of Penna Barkers), Rose Colledge (international managing director of Work), Simon Howard (chairman of Work Group plc), Jim Landen and Andy Rigden (joint creative directors of Bernard Hodes), Peter Rice (executive creative director of Euro RSCG Riley), Michelle Roberts-Clarke (managing director of other), Karen Williams (of AMRA and a committee member of the Small Circle), and Jamie Haskayne and Martin Rimmer (joint creative directors of aia).  In addition, senior figures from organisations such as ThirtyThree, TMP and Ri5 are expected to join the committee in the near future.

Recruitment industry workers, agencies, media owners and former Barkers clients have already begun to offer support.  The first pledge came from Frank Hutton, of Bristol-based Ad Lib Recruitment, who will donate at least £1,000.

If you can't attend the event on 17th July but would like to donate to the fund and /or help in other ways, please contact Jon Dobinson via

Monday, 13 July 2009

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tsz wu Date: Jul 13, 2009

Nice... see you there.

Anonymous Date: Jul 13, 2009

Ditto. I've been in this industry for some while now - becoming more and more jaded. This will not only hopefully provide much needed support for the ex-Barkers folk, but restore a lot of people's faith in the ever decreasingly small circle that we are. You'll find me dancing with the spirit of Stan Caley.

Simon Lewis Date: Jul 13, 2009

I would be very happy to promote this event via our social media platform, the UK Marketing Network and through the LinkedIn group, which has a number of members who would be interested in this. Simon Lewis | 01732 775665

Colin Britten Date: Jul 14, 2009

I worked at TCS for three years from its launch, and while things are a bit tough down here in Australia at present, I'd still like to make a donation. Are there bank details available?

Harriet Richert Date: Jul 14, 2009

Same question from me about making a donation from Australia. When I started in the industry Barkers was an agency you aspired to work in - I never did, which probably explains why I ended up in the Southern Hemisphere.. As always, regardless of where you are in the world, it's those least guilty of blame who get crapped on the most. Good on you all for doing something about it.

Ben Cowgill Date: Jul 14, 2009

What a fantastic effort from the industry, well done to all involved

Lucian Tarnowski Date: Jul 14, 2009

I have never heard of anything quite like this (not even in any other industry). Are donations able to be Gift Aid'ed?

Sue Sowerby Date: Jul 14, 2009

As an ex-Barkers girl from the late seventies to early eighties, Charles Barker Recruitment (as it was then) provided me with an excellent springboard for my advertising career (including running my own ad agency).Though I can't attend the event, I would be happy to send a donation.

Steve Huxham Date: Jul 14, 2009

Great idea and effort - tribute to you all and the sector. I can't be there on Friday sadly, but if there is anything we can do at the Society to support/promote this campaign just let me know and we'll do what we can.

Nick Scott Date: Jul 14, 2009

As a relative new comer to the rec ad scene I think this is a fantastic initiative. Well done for organising this and I shall come down to show my support.

Anonymous Date: Jul 14, 2009

"The situation that the staff from Barkers are facing is one that is sadly all too common throughout the advertising industry at the moment" Not quite true. Most redundancies result in getting paid off. Whilst the sentiment of RecAid is admirable, surely part of it's aim should be to try and make the government/whoever can bring about change to business law ensure that the outrageous treatment that those made redundant from Barkers received can never be repeated?

Kevin Turner Date: Jul 14, 2009

So what are YOU going to do about it?

Chris Blackburn Date: Jul 15, 2009

I trust you have a fantastic evening on the 17th. Sorry I can't be there but you have my heartfelt thoughts as I have previously expressed on Ri5. Charles Barker Recruitment was my springboard back in the 80's to many happy years in the business and I will be happy to donate towards helping out those less fortunate than me.

Blob Geldof Date: Jul 15, 2009

The event is also now listed on facebook...

John Langford Date: Jul 15, 2009

Sadly I am off on holiday that day so won't be able to support the event - but I'm there in spirit. I do hope it is a success.

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