A brighter side to millennium

I was heartened to read John Shannon’s column (MW March 11) “Time for some positive action” in reference to the new millennium. We have commissioned several surveys since we were established in June 1997, the first of which totally echoed the Brand Futures Consultancy’s study (which John mentioned) into consumers’ attitudes towards the turning of the millennium.

The study states that consumers regard the time “as one for personal reinvention and involvement in community projects”. This was a key reason for the Millennium Experience not only being about an inspirational celebration of British and international talent at the Dome in Greenwich, the home of time, but also a national programme of initiatives that embrace every community in the country.

We have been delighted by our sponsors’ ingenuity, creativity and commitment to the communities within which they trade to form our national programme of community-based projects. John Shannon mentioned Tesco’s Computers for Schools programme which it has been running successfully for many years. As one of our official sponsors, Tesco has logically extended this campaign so that it is known to its customers through Tesco SchoolNet 2000. Open to every school in the country, pupils are invited to contribute to an Internet-based “Domesday Book”, the findings of which will be showcased in the Learn Zone at the Dome.

Marks & Spencer is making possible Children’s Promise, a fundraising campaign inviting everyone to donate their final hour’s salary of this millennium to support the children of the next one. Employers are encouraged to participate by using payroll, giving the most tax-efficient means of making a donation. This initiative will not only raise much needed funds but will also leave a legacy of companies converted to Give As You Earn, which in turn will help enhance their relationship with their employees.

These initiatives are just two of those being funded by our sponsors and implemented in conjunction with their PR agencies and our 12 regional offices.

It would be good to receive as much media coverage of the national programme as there is of the Dome, given that it is a fundamental part and key legacy of the Millennium Experience.

Maybe there are company directors reading this who feel that they are investing more in Millennium negatives, such as the Y2K problem, than in activities directed at employees and consumers (as John Shannon states). It would be churlish of me not to ask such readers to consider following the example of our other sponsor companies and play a part in the UK’s official millennium celebrations.

Caroline Walton

General Manager Promotions

NMEC

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