Catherine embarks on sabbatical to assist with hurricane disaster relief / by Vivien Moseley

12virgin-01-superJumbo.jpg

We are extremely proud to announce that Catherine has been offered a placement in the United States Virgin Islands assisting with on-the-ground disaster relief for Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. She will be joining the response team undertaking mucking-out, gutting of buildings, debris removal and sanitation.

On 6 September 2017, Category 5 Hurricane Irma hit the region, with winds and flooding causing mass damage and devastation. Later that month, the Caribbean islands were hit again by Hurricane Maria, which affected 100% of the 100,000 residents. In January 2018, power was restored to most of the islands, however, thousands of homes are in such a state of disrepair that they are still, four months later, unable to be connected to the grid. Catherine will be volunteering as part of All Hands and Hearts, a volunteer-powered disaster relief organisation dedicated to rebuilding hope on the island of St Thomas. The organisation responds to the needs of communities impacted by the immediate devastation by engaging and leveraging volunteers, partner organisations and local communities.

Check back here to follow Catherine’s journey and read about life and work on the camp. Following volunteering, Catherine will also be travelling around Central America for a month while she dines out on four successful years at Comm Comm UK before returning to the office in May 2018.

In the meantime, we would like to welcome and introduce you to Vanessa Moon, who has joined the Comm Comm UK team, to take over from Catherine while she is away. Vanessa is owner of Voom Media a public relation and copywriting agency specialising in strategic communications, media relations and content development. With a background in regional news and business journalism, national trade press and public and private sector stakeholder communications for 20 years, Vanessa has an eye for a story and experience developing messages. Vanessa also has extensive experience in stakeholder consultation and engagement, working with clients such as Asda and Durkan and within public sector, consulting with housing tenants on the transfer of housing stock from local authority control.