[Pictures are Copyrighted to Beth Walsh Photography]
1284 Ltd


Strategic communications consultancy 1284 has won two leading industry awards – including a national prize – after receiving its interest-free business loan from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity.

The Loughborough-based company also hit its annual revenue target with six weeks to spare after investing the loan in a marketing campaign.

1284’s consultants are now looking at what comes next. A long-term business strategy is close to completion, while a new budget aims to increase annual income by 50% by March 2025.

1284 founder George Oliver received a £15,000 loan in April 2023. It was divided between a new CRM, website updates, launch of a newsletter, print collateral, trade shows, industry accreditations, targeted sponsorship, and other strategic marketing activity.

It also funded a partnership to relaunch the Leicester Riders Business Club, which meets quarterly and has since gone from strength to strength.

The marketing investment helped gain a host of new clients, supporting the recruitment of two experienced consultants, and further developing 1284’s network of specialist associates.

“Our experience with The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity has been excellent,” said former Leicester Mercury Editor, George.

“It was a simple, well-organised application process which enabled us to accelerate what we were doing and fund new ways of telling our own story.

“The result was another 12 months of good growth, giving us the confidence to recruit more consultants and continue developing our client portfolio.”

Former Leicestershire Local Democracy Reporter, Amy Orton, joined as Account Director last Spring. Former Staffordshire Sentinel Editor, Richard Bowyer, was recruited in the Autumn as Content Editor after several years with the University of Derby.

They bring significant experience of communications leadership in multi-stakeholder organisations, ranging from councils to hospitals. That experience helps 1284 deliver communications strategies for people developing innovative products and services.

It works with clients who have complex stories, finding clear ways to tell them. Examples include:
• increasing public awareness of Government-funded programmes
• contextualising organisational restructures
• engaging with diverse groups of stakeholders
• chairing multi-agency comms groups
• setting out the benefits of investment.

The work of 1284, which was founded in 2020, is underpinned by voluntary positions at a number of regional growth organisations. George is Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Leicester, and a volunteer mentor at Leicester Startups.

In December he was elected to the Board of East Midlands Chamber. He was recently made a Fellow of the Institute of Consulting.

In June, 1284 won the Silver Award for Independent PR Practitioner of the Year at the CIPR’s Excellence Awards. Staged in London, it is the UK industry’s leading prize night.

Two months later it won the Silver Award in the CIPR’s fiercely-contested Midlands Small PR Consultancy of the Year.

Both awards recognised 1284’s work in communicating East Midlands small business innovation.

“It’s been a year in which 1284 moved from startup to growth business,” added George.

“All of that has been supported by Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s belief in what we are trying to achieve.”

For more information about 1284, visit www.1284.co.uk, email info@1284.co.uk or sign up for its monthly newsletter.

To find out more about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free business loans, which are available up to the value of £20,000, interest-free for nine years, please click here.

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