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The Pollen shop

This blog is a chronicle of the happenings, ideas and projects that float in and around The Pollen Shop.

Unleash the benefits of sport

July 31st, 2018

The Pollen Shop worked alongside Barley Communications and colleagues from Sport Wales to produce the vision for Sport in Wales.

Like much of the developed world, Wales faces the challenges of a population that is getting more overweight and growing old. Add to this mix areas of entrenched poverty – which has been shown to magnify health inequalities – and there is a recipe for a public health crisis that could last decades.

Recognising this the Welsh Government asked Sport Wales to pull together a vision for sport. Unlike other national strategies this was to be owned by the nation and not just by those people that run sport.

So, what is so different? For the first time a country has embraced a truly cradle to the grave approach to sport. This vision is as much about keeping the pensioners fit as it is about giving children the skills to live active lives. This is a significant shift.

When we talked to citizens about what they wanted, it was pretty clear plenty of people want the chance to get fit but don’t currently have the confidence to take part in ‘traditional’ sport. This is why the vision focuses on enjoyment rather than simply meeting health targets.

For too many people the idea of sport is a deeply engrained negative one. This often is a consequence of off-putting childhood experiences. Preaching at people about the benefits of sport or promoting unrealistic role models also isn’t going to work. Giving people a range of fun opportunities that are easily accessible will. For some this might mean training for a marathon, but these people will always be in a minority. Most people have lower expectations and want to take part in an activity that they enjoy and feel safe doing. For some this might be practising yoga in their bedroom, for others it might be football ‘golf’. It’s these kinds of activities that need to be encouraged, even if at the start they don’t necessarily achieve huge health benefits.

We would like to take the credit for developing the vision but in reality, we were just the simple ‘water carriers’- albeit ones that delivered this vision on time and underbudget. Creating the vision was a real team effort. What was surprising was everyone from the top down were willing to take risks. Those people who worked and volunteer at a community level shaped the vision and set its tone but were also encouraged by the Welsh Government officials and the board of Sport Wales who pushed for radical and innovative approaches.

But is it achievable? We believe it is. Wales has fantastic national resources, deep community spirit and a genuine national love for sport. The vision sets the right path, it is owned by the people, developed by those who love sport and supported at the highest levels in government.

The vision will however only become a reality if focus on creating fun accessible experiences. And to do this we all are going to have to get out of our comfort zone.

Widening the pool of foster carers

June 26th, 2017

The Pollen Shop has written a short guide to help councils increase the diversity of their foster carers.

Widening the Pool of Foster Carers focuses on engaging people who have not considered fostering but already have skills or experience which could make them outstanding foster carers.

Why STPs matter to local government

March 31st, 2017

Local authorities have a great opportunity to develop a health and social care environment that benefits their population. But if the Government’s Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) don’t deliver; if resources are unfairly balanced within a footprint; if change happens too rapidly, too slowly or political priorities are ignored – then these plans could cause a massive long-term headache for local government.

Every single STP desperately needs local government to understand, engage and help to develop coordinated approaches to operational planning in a number of areas including:

  1. Hospital discharge and admissions
  2. Mental health services
  3. Elderly care and dementia services
  4. Services for disabled people
  5. Urgent care

The Pollen Shop has over a decade’s experience integrating health and social care.

We have worked with local authorities, NHS bodies, engagement specialists, technology and asset management companies  to develop at 3 stage approach to support local authorities better manage STP risk

  • STP Healthcheck – a clear map setting out critical risks and opportunities inherent in the plan.
  •  STP Benchmarking  – ongoing  data  on comparative investment, capital release  and expected returns.
  • STP Dashboard –highlighting progress  of key political, regulatory and financial elements of the plan against  an authority’s strategic objectives.

Track the Act

February 3rd, 2017

The first Track the Act briefing, covering the first six months of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act has now been published

The short report provides a snapshot of how implementation of the Act is developing for unpaid carers across Wales. The briefing brings together initial findings from Carers Wales’ online carers’ survey and related responses from our Local Authority Freedom of Information requests.

We will be providing a full report in May 2017 on the first full year of the Act but some indicative findings include:

• 17 of the 22 local authorities in Wales were unable to provide any data on how many carers contacted them by phone, the internet or in person for information advice or assistance. Although of those carers that had seen information produced by local authorities 62% found the information useful or very useful.

• 16 out of the 22 local authorities in Wales were unable to tell us how many people they had referred on to other organisations for community preventative support.

• Of the carers who completed the survey 80% had not been offered a carers needs assessment, a new duty under the Act

• There was a significant variation amongst local authorities in the numbers of carers receiving carers needs assessments as well as those going on to receive support via a care plan following assessment.

We hope that you find this initial report useful in helping track the implementation of the Act and the difference it is making to the thousands of unpaid carers across Wales.

Increasing the pool of specialist foster carers

July 4th, 2016

The Pollen Shop and Exterion Media have developed a partnership to improve the way local authorities connect with potential foster carers

Recently we have been looking at what motivates people who have some pre-existing skills and experience that may make them great foster carers but who currently don’t really understand what foster caring is all about.

These groups don’t engage with traditional fostering recruitment messaging because they are already switched off. They are however the kinds of potential foster carers who may be more likely to support children with more complex needs. Increasing the numbers of these kinds of foster carers will improve outcomes for many children who are difficult to place and help local authorities save money.

The research is at a very early stage but so far has been illuminating. It indicates that amongst people who have not considered fostering, but who have some pre-existing skills and experience, there is:

  • high awareness that fostering can be emotionally challenging but low awareness that fostering can be intellectually challenging
  • low awareness that children who require a foster placement have very different needs, and consequently foster parents with different skill sets.
  • low awareness that children with very complex needs are often adolescents rather than younger children.

An innovative partnership
Exterion Media is the market leader in Outdoor Advertising on transport networks in all local markets throughout the UK. The Pollen Shop works across social care, health care and financial services improving the way organisations connect with people that mater most to them.

Together we are generating new insight into how our clients can better target key audiences. Over the next few months we will continue to capture data, as well as developing a set of messaging tools for local authorities who want to increase their pool of specialist foster carers.

To find out more about how we can help you reach out to more foster carers please contact:

Karen Landles, Behavioural Insight Director

Gwilym Morris, Founder

Track the Act

June 20th, 2016

When the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 came into force on 6 April 2016, it brought with it significant changes in the way social services is delivered in wales. As a consequence Wales is now a very different public policy social care environment to the rest of the UK,  especially in the area of social care ‘rights’. How this translated to improvements in the experiences of people who use health and social services is of course as yet to be tested.

The Pollen Shop is now working with Carers Wales to monitor the implementation of the Act by measuring the difference the new legislation makes to carers over time.

Carers are a key fulcrum group in the delivery of health and social care. They are unpaid and often underappreciated, but without their involvement much of health and social care delivery would simply ground to a halt.

To monitor the Act we have set up a data collection process that will gather the experiential data from carers living in all of the 22 local authorities in Wales and combine this with local authority performance data. We aim to run the  “Track the Act” process over the next three years, producing a 12 month report on our findings on each anniversary of the Act coming into force on 6th April 2016 with an interim report at 6 month intervals.track the act logo

What happened to Pollination Campaigns?

January 16th, 2016

Pollination Campaigns was a specialist communications consultancy run by the some of the same people as The Pollen Shop. Clients included Department for Work and Pensions, Disability Rights Commission and The Equal Opportunities Commission (both forerunners of the Equality and Human Rights Commission) RNID, RNIB, scope sense and arrange of third sector organisations.  

The goal of Pollination campaigns was to help organisations develop relationships with the people that matter to them. One of the key groups we were often contracted to work with were hard to reach groups who were excluded from participating in the development of public policy.

Pollination Campaigns was for example responsible for engaging stakeholders in the development of the technical guidance to much of the raft of new equality legislation in the mid 2000’s.  This has now been replaced by Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), which came into force on 5 April 2011.

In the late 2000’s the work of Pollination Campaigns was subsumed into The Pollen Shop. The two organisations worked very closely and it just made sense to work through a single organisation.

Consultants Views and Perceptions on Access to New Medicine Technologies

January 16th, 2016

Research undertaken by The Pollen Shop has now been published by The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

Oncology & Haemato-Oncology: Consultants Views and Perceptions on Access to New Medicine Technologies  assessed clinicians’ perspectives on – and experience of – routine access to oncology medicines, and the effectiveness of the Individual Patient Funding Request (IPFR) process.

Reaching out to NHS consultants and getting meaningful data on their perceptions on issues such as access to new medicine is notoriously difficult. This is because as a group these kinds of specialists are time poor and have a great deal to say on the matter but are often reluctant to do so. For these reasons a structured programme of engagement was developed by The Pollen Shop and members of the ABPI Cymru Wales Oncology Therapy Group to promote the research. Data was then collected anonymously through interviews with clinicians and via an on-line portal. The research has been generally accepted by a range of stakeholders and was launched at the National Assembly of Wales.

Dr Richard Greville is Director of ABPI Cymru Wales welcomed the research on the Institute of welsh affairs website

This report was financially supported by Astellas, Boehringer Ingelheim, Celgene, Eisai, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Merck Serono, Novartis, Pfizer and Sanofi.


We’ve just noticed that we haven’t built a website for a while.

July 29th, 2015

The Pollen Shop has a great track record of developing brilliant websites for a wide range of organisations: from breweries to politicians, from small businesses to national charities. We’ve done e-commerce, campaigning, surveys, launches and games.

We haven’t been building websites lately because we have been busy – auditing, reviewing, commissioning, transforming and coaching. Spending time supporting global platforms or building on-line financial processes is fun but we also want to stay true to our heritage and build sites from start to finish.

If you have got an interesting project – micro site, launch pad, promotional tool, e-commerce site we would be interested in talking to you about your project.
What you will get is world class developers that would love your project.

So what are you waiting for get in touch……

Access to Oncology & Haemato-Oncology New Medicine Technologies

November 7th, 2014

The Pollen Shop is working with the ABPI to assess clinicians’ perspectives on and experience of access to medicines in Wales. This work is covering both Oncology & Haemato-Oncology.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.

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