Interview: Roger Harding

The director of communications, policy and campaigns at Shelter says he is working on the charity's emergency Christmas appeal

Roger Harding
Roger Harding

- What is your role?

I lead a team of 65, responsible for overseeing all of Shelter's digital advice, brand, online, campaigning, policy, research and creative activity.

- What's your background?

I joined Shelter in 2010 to work on policy, research, public affairs and strategy. In October I took up my current role. Before Shelter, I worked for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and a public affairs and communications consultancy.

- What are you currently working on?

We're working on our emergency Christmas appeal, which aims to build awareness and drive donations to help us help homeless families. It highlights the fact that 80,000 children face waking up homeless in temporary accommodation this Christmas. Our campaigns focus on uniting the public in concern about a lack of homes, poor conditions, the lack of stability in the private rented sector for families and the need for a stronger housing safety net.

- How important is campaigning for the charity?

It's central. We were founded as a campaign and to provide front-line services with a transformative mission: "until everyone has a home". At Shelter, we're not content to merely take the edge off the worst of homelessness or to speak truth to power. We secure short-term improvements, but we also run campaigns that transform situations by carrying the public with us. We turn issues into everyday concerns, not just something that happens to other people. Our focus throughout is on what wins and ensuring that we win big, because our mission and supporters demand it, and chiefly because of the impact we have with people in difficult housing situations.

- What advice would you give to those climbing the career ladder?

Approach your career in the way you would approach a campaign. Ask yourself: what do I want to change, how will change happen realistically and what value can I add?

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