Communications and Engagement Officer

The Freshwater Biological Association

Lakeside, Newby Bridge, Cumbria
£28,000 - £30,0000 pa pro rata

Paid • Full or Part Time • Fixed Term Contract

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology, water & hydrology

Closing date: Monday, 8th July 2024  

Note: The deadline for this role has been extended.

Salary: £28 – 30K pro rata
Location: Lakeside, Newby Bridge, Windermere, Cumbria (Hybrid working negotiable)
Hours per week: 0.6FTE / 22.5 hrs per week. 
Could also be combined with 0.4 FTE Digital Content Creator role (see separate job spec). 
Fixed term appointment until at least end December 2026 although extension likely. 

Role Description 

The Communications and Engagement Officer role is an exciting opportunity to deliver the comms and engagement activities for the EU LIFE-funded R4ever Kent Project. The LIFE R4ever Kent project (LIFE20 NAT/UK/001013) plans to Restore and Revive the River Kent SAC, so that the species and habitats can Recover, thus making the designated features more Resilient to environmental pressures. The lead partner is Natural England and the partnership also includes the Environment Agency and South Cumbria Rivers Trust. The successful candidate will have excellent communication and partnership working skills, and be capable of creating and delivering a robust communications and engagement plan for the project. The river Kent, which partly flows through the Lake District’s World Heritage Site landscape has some of the UK’s rarest and most at-risk species. It is one of the last surviving strongholds of the native white-clawed crayfish and home to a small population of the endangered freshwater pearl mussel. This project aims to move the river Kent towards favorable condition by using a range of river/riparian restoration and invasive control best practice methods, whilst engaging local communities and land managers. 

We are looking for a proven communications specialist, who is a team-player and keen to get involved in project activities. Ideally they will be located in the North West of England with good access to the South Lakes / South Cumbria area and have a love of the outdoors including a desire to protect and enhance the natural environment. We are looking for somebody who can connect with different groups of people using different communication styles, tools, and techniques to suit the groups they are engaging with. This role involves capturing peoples attention and sharing our story and key messages. 

Key tasks 

  • Responsible for development, delivery and evaluation of communications plans, through close working with the existing Partners. 
  • Accountable for monitoring and evaluation of agreed communications outcomes to feed into progress reports and, where necessary, recommend changes to achieve outcomes. 
  • Together with partners, co-ordinate and respond to reactive media enquiries and initiate proactive media activity, drafting press releases, selling in stories and identifying potential opportunities to generate coverage on priority topics. 
  • Protect and enhance the reputation of the project through horizon scanning and issues management. 
  • Maintain effective working relationships with local and regional media. 
  • Organisation of key events and engagement with Project Catchment Management Advisers. 
  • Develop digital content to support communications priorities and advise others about developing their own content and how to procure additional support if appropriate. 
  • Support the management of highly sensitive and contentious issues in partnership with colleagues across the Defra group. 

Key skills 

Technical/Specialist Knowledge/Qualifications

  • Proven experience in developing and delivering communications plans, including evaluation [Essential] 
  • Proven creation of innovative social media content and contributing to the design of communications plans and campaigns that aim to change public behaviour, displaying strong written and verbal communications skills [Essential]
  • Evidence using insight to identify target audiences and partners and to inform communication objectives, messages and solutions [Desirable]
  • Demonstrating tactical delivery across a range of communications channels including campaigning, internal communications, broadcast, social or print media [Essential].

Personal Effectiveness

  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the principles of good business communication; and put these into practice [Essential]
  • Use clear and appropriate language, communication styles and techniques that engage your audience [Essential]
  • Assess the impact and effectiveness of communication; review achievement of objectives; identify lessons learnt and share feedback [Essential]
  • Develop your professional expertise by keeping up to date with current evidence and research, aiming to develop a broad portfolio of expertise relevant to your specialism to enable you to provide holistic advice and to provide support, assurance and challenge across a wide range of topics [Desirable] 

Putting People at the Heart of the Environment

  • Listen to and understand our diverse partners and customers so that you achieve the best outcomes for them and the organisation you represent [Essential]
  • Nurture trusting partnerships and collaborate to achieve pragmatic outcomes that help deliver the vision, mission and aims of the organisation you represent [Essential]
  • Work proactively and collaboratively with stakeholders and partners to identify and secure opportunities to deliver gains for people and nature [Essential]

Work Delivery

  • Manage and deliver your work to meet agreed targets and deadlines [Essential]
  • Plan and deliver events and meetings, including organising all logistics, to meet the needs of the host through understanding the objective, whilst considering the cost-effectiveness and budgetary requirements [Essential]
  • Handle data responsibly, understand your role in good governance, and comply with delegations, policies and procedures [Essential] 

About the Freshwater Biological Association 

We are a small environmental NGO with a large remit – understanding and conserving freshwaters across the globe. Our innovative work on species recovery and citizen science engages hundreds of people to participate in protecting our vital freshwater ecosystems. Our goal is to increase understanding, learning and participation in freshwater ecology and this exciting role will help us achieve that.

You will be joining a small but perfectly formed team of enthusiastic and dedicated people working in the beautiful English Lake District. This exciting opportunity is being offered on a permanent basis with a base package including 25 days annual leave plus privilege days (9 days pro rata), additional paid bank holidays depending on actual days worked, 3% employers pension contribution, life insurance and personal health & wellbeing programme. 

How to apply

Please send a covering letter and CV to [email protected], detailing why you would be the best candidate for this role and outlining whether you are applying for just this role, and whether you wish to be considered for the LIFE R4ever Kent Communications and Engagement Officer role concurrently. Consider the key responsibility areas and deliverables when applying. Please also provide at least three examples of content you have created/delivered and detail how it contributed to the project or any specific objective/target.

The closing date for applications is 5pm 8th July, 2024 with interviews anticipated w/c 15th July. Interviews will be held face-to-face at FBA’s offices in Newby Bridge, Cumbria.