Interview: Darren Knight

The head of policy and engagement at the Lesbian & Gay Foundation talks to Gemma Quainton about putting out multiple messages to fight discrimination

Darren Knight
Darren Knight

What is your role?

I work on the charity's policy agenda and public sector engagement. My role also encompasses the wider communications function - helping to spread the charity's message through outreach, social media and the traditional print media.

What's your background?

I joined in a front-of-house role in 2006. Before that, I worked in marketing for a legal and insurance firm, and have held other roles in a range of sectors. My job at the charity has evolved, and I'm now involved in engagement and talking about the effect of our work.

What are your main challenges?

The sheer amount of messages that we need to get out is huge. The charity is a hybrid that exists to provide direct services and to supply information on policy and legislation and their impact on our communities. We support other groups that serve the same beneficiaries. We also talk to a lot of different people at the same time about a range of issues, which can be challenging.

Do you find that people fail to understand what the organisation actually does?

Now that we have the Equality Act in place, we do find that a lot of people question why we need to do the work we do. They don't understand that people are still being battered and bruised simply because of who they are, and that they continue to be discriminated against in education, employment and services. People don't know their rights and it's our job to inform them.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in charity communications?

Know what you are talking about inside and out so that you are never put on the back foot. You need to understand what's happening in the wider environment and be ready all the time. As a communications professional, you must be on the ball constantly or you will miss out on valuable media opportunities.

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