What are the new talks you are piloting?
We get quite a lot of requests to give talks at Rotary Clubs and Women's Institute meetings, but we have never had a comprehensive programme. So we decided to get together a group of people to give professional talks.
We were lucky that we had a key volunteer who is a trainer, and he said he could help us find some other trainers to do it. We eventually selected eight people, and we are calling the initiative Talkies.
There will be talks in the Midlands, the south east and London. If it's a success, we will roll out the programme to the rest of the country in March.
What kind of training did the volunteers receive?
They had a full day of training and learned how to give Powerpoint presentations if the situation demands it.
They also learned about our history and the founder of PDSA, Maria Dickin, as well as some of the remarkable stories of the animals that have been awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal and our Pet Survivor of the Year title.
After the training, the volunteers were really enthusiastic, looking forward to putting into practice what they had learned.
Will all the talks be the same?
It's not prescriptive. The speakers can adjust their talks to the audience and the length of time available. The talks will take between 20 minutes and an hour, and we expect volunteers to do two talks each month.
We want the presentations to be of a high quality, so we have got professional volunteers to give them. Of course, they tend to have demanding work commitments, so the hours reflect that. We hope the pilot will tell us if this will be enough. We intend to be much more proactive about arranging talks and will be sending posters out to libraries and identifying relevant organisations.