Rising star, Kate Samuelson

Rising star, Kate Samuelson

Every year, through our Print Futures Awards, we give talented young people grants of up to £1500 to go towards their career development. This year we had 44 very deserving winners with promising careers in the print, publishing, paper, packaging and graphic arts sectors.

Kate Samuelson was a winner in the Creating Visual Delights category this year. We spoke to her about her work on CHEAPSKATE, a weekly guide to the best free and almost-free London happenings.

As a journalist and charity worker, Kate wanted to do something that would make London’s cultural riches more available to everyone – even those on a tight budget. So, last year, she started a weekly email newsletter from her bedroom called CHEAPSKATE London. CHEAPSKATE lists the best free events happening in London, from films and plays to talks and exercise classes.

When lockdown started, Kate pivoted the newsletter to focus exclusively on free events for people to take part in from home – events like virtual life drawing, live drag shows and online book festivals. CHEAPSKATE’s subscriber list has grown rapidly as a result and Kate’s been invited to speak about the newsletter on BBC Radio London and has worked on partnerships with organisations like Thrive LDN (the Mayor of London-backed mental health movement).

Thanks to our support through the Print Futures Awards, Kate now has her own lightweight, high-speed laptop which she can use to work on CHEAPSKATE (rather than relying on her work laptop). It’s made a huge difference to her life and to her work growing and improving CHEAPSKATE.

Sign up to receive the newsletter from CHEAPSKATE here yourself and follow Kate’s work on Instagram.

The 2020 Print Futures Awards are now closed. You can see all of our winners here and find out about the 2021 awards by signing up to our newsletter.

BPIF launch new COVID-Secure Road map

BPIF launch new COVID-Secure Road map

8 practical steps to help your business take into account the journey to being Covid-secure

BPIF have launched a ‘COVID-Secure Road Map’ in a drive to ensure businesses work towards being Covid-Secure. The BPIF set out the steps to take to ensure a safe transition from lockdown, highlighting the key points, guidance and latest legislation to consider as our industry moves towards 100% reopening with the pandemic receding.

There has been a wealth of detailed Government-issued guidance, and the BPIF Roadmap clarifies and simplifies the advice into 8 practical steps, helping businesses take into account all new requirements to create a trusted and compliant environment. The BPIF COVID-Secure Road Map takes you through eight steps of the journey in a clear and easy to follow manner, with additional elements within each step – suitable guidance and templates are listed within each step, along with our recommended actions to be taken.

All members of the BPIF have been encouraged to conduct their own review of their business, working closely with a cross-section of employees, devising a plan to make necessary business changes which will bring confidence to all employees.

The BPIF H&S team  will be setting up virtual bookings shortly, but in the meantime if you require any immediate consultation please email coronahelp@bpif.org.uk

Gerald’s story

Gerald’s story

As part of Men’s Health Week, we are putting a spotlight on how health problems can result in a change in circumstances, and how The Printing Charity can help when and if this happens. 

It can be tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. There are times when life can often be full of stress. In fact, ‘Midlife Crisis’ is the most visited mental health page on Men’s Health Forum and other searches on the website show it’s clear we’re all looking to better manage stress and the impact on our health. 

The Printing Charity’s helpline can help with advice on beating stress and tackling the niggling hassles, frustrations and angers we all feel before they become something more serious. With one in four people experiencing some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, it’s vital we find strength in talking and reach out for the help we need.

“The way we feel between our ears is key to both mental wellbeing and physical health too. Mental health problems are increasingly common. In the UK, 12 men take their own lives everyday and, after years of falling, the suicide rate has increased as the economy has struggled.”

Beat Stress, Feel Better, Men’s Health Forum


Gerald’s Story 

Gerald was devastated when the business he’d built up faced bankruptcy, but The Printing Charity were there to help him turn his life back around. 

A gifted artist, Gerald studied at Watford School of Art, now West Herts College of Art and Design, where he then worked as a technician and part-time lecturer for a year before becoming a freelancer producing finished artwork for advertising agencies and printing companies.

Wanting to be more in control of the artwork he produced, he set up his own studio where he installed phototypesetting, which was groundbreaking at the time. The business grew and, at its peak, employed 17 staff and had an impressive client base of blue-chip companies in London.

However, the pressure of running the business gradually affected Gerald’s health and personal life more and more. The ensuing bankruptcy left him devastated and he has since been on a long, hard journey to turn his life around.

“The charity initially helped me with a one-off grant to buy white goods. That was a real boost and showed me that the world is a much better place than I thought it was. I’m no longer broken and the charity’s ongoing help has been invaluable.”

If you are a business owner in the print sector, our free, confidential helpline service for SMEs gives staff access to the type of employee assistance bigger organisations provide.

Find out more here.

See Tom’s story

See Gerry’s story

Tom’s Story

Tom’s Story

As part of Men’s Health Week, we are putting a spotlight on how health problems can result in a change in circumstances, and how The Printing Charity can help when and if this happens. 

There is good evidence that feeling connected to others is one of five specific things that can make a big difference to your sense of wellbeing. The others are being active, taking notice, learning and giving. 

“The Five Ways are valuable in their own right. They’ll improve your health and wellbeing. But it is also likely that if you’re feeling good about yourself, you will find it easier to make the other changes in your life that will improve your physical and mental health and wellbeing.”

The Five Ways to Wellbeing, Men’s Health Forum

Feeling connected, close to, and valued by, other people can make all the difference when faced with health concerns and as a result, a change in circumstance. For some men, reaching out to find help does not come naturally but it is important we all know that making connections and asking for support is vital to get through difficult times.


Tom’s Story

As editor of Able, a disability lifestyle publication for people faced with life-changing decisions, Tom can well identify with the situations included in the magazine. Tom was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis ten years ago and, with the help of The Printing Charity, adjusted his working life as a result. 

“Supporting me enables me to support others through my editorial work,” says Tom, who is also editor of Civvy Street, a magazine for members of the Armed Forces making the transition to civilian life.

Tom has worked in the media since 1997, initially on the commercial and sales side before moving across to editorial. Following his diagnosis with Cystic Fibrosis, he continued working but with his symptoms becoming progressively more severe and affecting his health, Tom needed to make a decision about continuing full-time or working part-time, which was an option he could not afford to do independently.

This is where The Printing Charity and Journalists’ Charity were able to help, and with financial support, Tom could continue to do the job he has a real passion for.

“I take pride in my work and didn’t want to relinquish it, plus I have a family to look after… The charities’ help is fantastic in that it enables me to work a four-day week with one day off to recuperate and help manage my symptoms.”

As the only dedicated charity for people in the print sector, we’re here to help. If you, or anyone you know, works in the print, paper, publishing, packaging or graphic arts, and is facing challenges in life, please get in touch.

Call us on 01293 542 820 or email support@theprintingcharity.org.uk.

See Gerry’s story

See Gerald’s story

Gerry’s story

Gerry’s story

As part of Men’s Health Week, we are putting a spotlight on how health problems can result in a change in circumstances, and how The Printing Charity can help when and if this happens. 

Our health and wellbeing is central to our happiness, and affect every aspect of our lives, from work and career, to home and personal relationships. When something goes wrong with our health, the impact on our capacity to work and earn a livelihood can be very significant. For some men, asking for help can be daunting and acknowledging health symptoms is not something they are particularly comfortable with.

“Fear surrounding the potential loss of masculinity may result in a façade of control and stoicism, instead of honesty about reporting symptoms and accepting interventions.” 

Key Data: Understanding of Health and Access to Services, Men’s Health Forum


Gerry’s Story

Gerry loved working in the print industry and built a career as the manager of a printing company. When his career was brought to a halt by health problems, The Printing Charity was there to help with some of the difficulties this brought about.

As a young man, Gerry studied at Eastbourne College of Arts, specialising in silk-screen printing. His first job after graduating was as a sign-writer before going to the printing company where he managed 30 staff, dealing with print from concept to product. Whilst a significant amount of responsibility came with the job, it was one Gerry loved and he particularly enjoyed supporting new staff, including his wife whom he trained to be a printer.

When Gerry had to stop working due to issues with his health, he had financial problems. An adviser at Citizen’s Advice told him about The Printing Charity and started the ball rolling with Gerald’s application. This led to the charity helping Gerald and his wife with regular financial assistance and the money has made a huge difference to their lives. 

“We don’t know how we’d manage otherwise. We’re both unwell and have to keep our home warm in the winter so this support helps to pay for our heating at that time of the year.”

This ongoing support has enabled Gerry to manage after leaving his job and livelihood behind, meaning he can look after his health and that of his wife, without the worry of enduring financial hardship.

“The charity’s staff are fantastic to deal with. If they help people the way they’ve helped us, it can only be a good thing.”

If you, or anyone you know, works in the print sector and needs help navigating life’s challenges, we’re here to help.

Call us on 01293 542 820 or email support@theprintingcharity.org.uk.

See Gerald’s story

See Tom’s story

BPIF Cartons’ members respond to COVID-19

BPIF Cartons’ members respond to COVID-19

BPIF Cartons’ members have played a major part in ensuring food, drink and healthcare related packaging has been delivered to brand-owners and retailers despite the huge disruption the pandemic has made to so many people’s lives.

The importance of the packaging sector has led to many governments around the world declaring packaging as an ‘essential’ industry and vital to maintain highly organised supply chains. Jon Clark, BPIF Cartons’ General Manager, said: “All our members have remained operational during these unprecedented times. They have had to adapt established working practices to safeguard the welfare of their employees. Many have also gone further and helped to manufacture vital PPE, made donations or organised activities to raise money for Covid-19 related charities. All these initiatives add up to make a huge difference.”

These are just some of the companies that have contributed:

WestRock’s MPS has also been repurposing some of its equipment and skills to help provide much needed personal protective equipment. WestRock’s site at East Kilbride, that supplies cartons to the drinks industry, has been using its specialist 3D printers to produce some of the plastic components needed to create an effective face mask. The site has help supply the local NHS Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow which is acting as the specialist centre to deal with severe cases of the virus.

Graphic Packaging International (GPI), a leading supplier of food & beverage cartons, has designed, manufactured and donated 50,000 face shields to a number of hospitals, care homes and GP Practices around the UK, including the Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust and the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Bristol. In addition to the PPE initiative, GPI has also donated the equivalent of $5,000 to a food bank located near to each of its facilities.

Alexir Partnership, whose customers are largely in the food sector, ensured the supply chain was uninterrupted despite facing huge spikes in demand as consumers stockpiled goods. At the company’s co-packing plant, a super-fast response ensured food banks were stocked for the elderly and vulnerable groups – which is still ongoing. Cartons were also supplied at a marginal cost to a leading brand owner who donated profits from new lines to NHS Charities. The Alexir team also personally played their part by raising £3,600 for NHS Charities through sponsored activities.

Flint Group Offset Solutions Division has adapted production capabilities in its Varn Pressroom Chemicals manufacturing plant in Irlam, Manchester by starting to produce and supply alcohol-based hand sanitisers according to the World Health Organisation approved formulation. As well as being made available in the workplace and industry, these hand sanitisers have also been donated free of charge to primary schools and care homes in the UK.

RAP UK repurposed its food packaging operations to manufacture disposable PPE face-shields (conforming to Category 1 PPE EU Regulation 2016:425). The material used in the shield’s construction is a high barrier protective film, commonly used in the packaging industry to protect food against bacteria, virus and other harmful pathogens. The PPE is helping to ease the lockdown in the UK and work safer. The robust RAP Face Shield is also economical making the solution a sustainable and viable option.

Coveris, specialising in the manufacture of laminated filmic board products for the food-to-go industry, has dedicated several operational lines to produce Rainbow Visors for various single-use applications. Coveris, who collaborated on the project with two other companies, had to adapt its production processes, conduct trials, and scaled up capacity to meet the technical standard required.

Harrison Packaging wanted to support its local community and partnered with Age UK Teesside, the company’s nominated charity, to donate chocolate gift packs to raise the spirits of local elderly residents isolated due to Covid-19. Also, aware that many local charities were struggling during these unprecedented times, Harrison extended its support to embrace ten other local charities.

Transcend Packaging has adapted its manufacturing processes to produce protective face shields. Made from reinforced paper boards and recyclable materials, the inexpensive visors are designed for single use and to be recycled. Transcend collaborated with Life Sciences Hub Wales to meet all standards required for use by NHS Wales, frontline and key workers, and nearly 3 million shields have been manufactured. The versatile face shield can be used by all sections of the population.

For more information, please contact Jon Clark