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Posts Tagged ‘charity’

Food banks – a stain on our society or a godsend?

We’ve another of those reports – from the Joseph Rowntree folks this time – telling us how appalling it is that so many live in poverty in a rich country like Britain. A subject we can make two points about. The first being that they’re not actually talking about poverty, they’re talking about inequality.

Despite the language being used no one at all is really saying that anyone in Britain lives at the level of those starving people we see on the TV in Africa or wherever. Nor is anyone living like most people did 100 years ago. Our definition of poverty here is having less than other people – less than 60% of average household income in fact – instead of having near nothing. Yes, everyone says “poverty” but it’s really not what is being talked about, instead it’s inequality.

The much more interesting question though is about these food banks. Are they an appalling stain upon Britain? Or a sign of how well we’re doing?

Nearly 4 million adults in the UK have been forced to use food banks due to ”shocking” levels of deprivation, figures have revealed for the first time.

An exclusive poll commissioned by The Independent reveals one in 14 Britons has had to use a food bank, with similar numbers also forced to skip meals and borrow money as austerity measures leave them “penniless with nowhere to turn”.

The findings come as a major report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) shows more than 1.5 million people were destitute in the UK last year alone, a figure higher than the populations of Liverpool and Birmingham combined.

“Destitution” in that report includes having only one meal a day for two days in a row because there’s no money to buy more food. And the report does say – but doesn’t really try to emphasise – that a major reason for that is how badly the government manages to hand out the welfare money. They keep getting the amounts wrong that is. Which is the very thing which leads to the question about food banks.

We could say, as the general conversation does, that their existence shows how appalling Britain is. There’s such poverty that people must rely upon charity, government should be doing better, benefits must rise. The other way around is to say that it’s government causing the problem. It’s not the amount of benefits, it’s the incompetence with which they’re administered. It’s also nothing new – anyone rich in maturity will know that the dole and associated offices have always got the numbers wrong. And it can and always has taken weeks and weeks to get benefits to start with. At which point, well, maybe food banks are just a new way of dealing with something that has always been a problem? The rise in the number of them being a sign that we’re getting better at dealing with this problem.

Back in the 80s I had friends who had to wait 8 weeks to even start getting their dole. That’s a long time to go without money for food unless a few friends chip in. Food banks, to me and with those experiences, are just a better way of dealing with that long term problem, how crap the government is at giving away money. Opinions may differ here of course….

Posted: 14th, June 2018 | In: News | Comment


Save the Children accused of putting business before women

Justin Forsyth resigned his post as chief executive at Save The Children because he made, in his words, “unsuitable and thoughtless” comments to three younger women. The evidence is in a “barrage” of text messages the current deputy executive director at Unicef sent female staff in which he appraised their looks and clothes. Mr Forsyth was never subjected to a formal disciplinary hearing. Save the Children says it did examine Mr Forsyth in 2011 and 2015. And that was it. Back then whatever he did was deemed to be ok. Now it isn’t.

Forsyth is a forgettable looking chap with the looks of a minor public school’s cricket coach. “I made some personal mistakes during my time at Save the Children,” he states. “I recognise that on a few occasions I had unsuitable and thoughtless conversations with colleagues which I now know caused offence and hurt.”

Were they thoughtless? Or was he thinking, you know, with his manhood? It’s pretty hard to bang out a text without engaging any brain power. Unless it was instinctive and Forsyth was operating on the same level as a sponge reacting to the presence of water or a puppy on the vicar’s leg. Where does flirting slide over into sexual harassment? A YouGov survey tells us that over a quarter of 18 to 24 consider winking “always or usually” sexual harassment – the figure falls to 6% for over-55s. Two thirds of the same think the same of wolf-whistling – for over 55s it was 15%. Nottinghamshire police consider wolf-whistling a “hate crime”.

“When this was brought to my attention on two separate occasions,” Forsyth continues, “I apologised unreservedly to the three colleagues involved and my apologies were accepted and I thought the issue was closed many years ago.”

Well, it wasn’t closed. One woman tells the BBC: “The complaints of harassment were not treated with the appropriate degree of seriousness. It seems there was more interest in preventing the exposure of misconduct than in protecting its female employees from predatory behaviour.”

The PR is now in full cry. Following new that Brendan Cox was not best behaved when he worked at Save The Children, the charity tells everyone: “We apologise for any pain these matters have caused and sincerely hope that the complainants feel able to help us with the review in the coming weeks.”

We apologise for the reactions. But not for doing anything wrong. Indeed, we urge the alleged victims to trust us. Only we can get to the bottom of things. Adding: “This is so that we can better support our skilled and highly valued staff as they help change the lives of millions of children around the world every day.” Translation: we’re great. Sure some of your charitable donations will go on staff reviews, PR and guff. But keep giving!

Posted: 21st, February 2018 | In: Money, News | Comment


Saving Haiti: if a celebrity won’t exploit you Oxfam will

Oxfam’s chief executive Mark Goldring has been talking to the Guardian. The paper says the mood at Oxfam is one akin to a “sudden bereavement” – much like Haitians felt when 200,000 of them were killed in an earthquake, or worse?

Oxfam staff are “close to tears”. Goldring “hasn’t slept for six nights and he looks stricken,” we’re told. Anyone wondering why Goldring chose to speak with the Guardian and not, say the Daily Mail or Times, which broke the story of Oxfam’s alleged laissez-faire attitude to criminality and sexual exploitation by its staff? This is less interview than PR.

Goldring was “justifiably fretting that his words would be wilfully twisted to do Oxfam yet more damage”. But here he is in the Guardian, a man in mourning wondering if the inheritance tax and death duties will damage the brand. He complains of being “savaged” in the media, his words “manipulated”. No danger of that in the Guardian, which sees good in the simple act of a grown man at the top of powerful multi-million pound organisation – last year’s income: £408.6 million – talking “alone, unchaperoned by press officers” – one of the 20 full-time press officers the Times says are on Oxfam’s books. He is “unguarded and candid. The impression I form is of someone telling the truth: if Goldring has been guilty of anything, I think it might be naivety about the vulnerability of almost any organisation in the febrile public mood of distrust.”

It’s not so much about Oxfam lying and covering up alleged criminality and exploiting the bereft and genuinely bereaved, allowing staffers to leave without a stain on their CVs and thus best able to secure other jobs at other aid organisations, which some did, it’s about you. Asked why Oxfam lied and covered up immoral behaviour by some of its staff, Goldring offers:

“That was wrong. I believe it was done in good faith to try to balance being transparent and protecting Oxfam’s work. I don’t think [Oxfam] wanted to promote a sensation and damage the delivery of [the Haiti] programme. With hindsight, we should have said more. I’ve been clear about that since this broke. But if Oxfam’s business is to help save lives, if your organisation is there to actually help make the world a better place, I can see why people thought this was the right thing to do.”

It’s you they don’t trust, you judgemental sods who give so generously to Oxfam. It’s about ring-fencing your giving from people who don’t have the best of intentions. It might be about the Haitians, but don’t worry about them. Just give. Oxfam will decide what they need.

Goldring adds:

 “The intensity and the ferocity of the attack makes you wonder, what did we do? We murdered babies in their cots? Certainly, the scale and the intensity of the attacks feels out of proportion to the level of culpability. I struggle to understand it. You think: ‘My God, there’s something going on there.’”

He is then invited to go on the attack. The Guardian leads him to the escape hatch and kicks it open:

Is it that political opponents of international aid – the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel – are exploiting Oxfam’s crisis? He hesitates.

Are leading Tories the problem here? Goldring dismisses the idea out of hand, saying that it’d be a sick irony to present Oxfam as the victims of an opportunist, self-serving elite. No, of course not. He says:

“Others are better to judge whether that’s right or wrong. I don’t think it’s right for Oxfam to say that at the moment, because even that feels self-serving. What I’m really concerned about is that this is not used as an approach to attack aid.” But it already is. “Yes. It is.”

Good job it’s not about first world westerners, the rich, saintly and knowing, riding in to save the hapless, perpetually needy Third Worlders from starvation and poverty by telling them how many babies to have, that Fairtrade is better than GM, that to live ‘ethically’ is ideal, water is best when it comes not from pipes by from wells dug by Prince William, and if they’re lucky a celebrity coloniser will adopt one of them. Good job it’s not about the vain and well off controlling the impoverished and using them to show off their own moral goodness. It’s not about them. It’s all about us. Charity, after all, begins at home…

 

Posted: 17th, February 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News | Comment


The charity game: when sex with clients is ok

The charity business continues of amaze. The Sunday Times looks at the Leeds-based Yorkshire Mesmac charity, which, says the headline, “allows sex with clients”. And who are these clients at its centres in Leeds, York, North Yorkshire, Bradford, Wakefield, Rotherham and Hull?

A charity for child abuse victims, sex workers and gay men given more than £2m by the government, councils and police has told its staff they are allowed to have “sexual relationships” with the often vulnerable people they meet through their work.

Ah.

The organisation, based in Leeds, is being investigated by the city’s child safeguarding board after The Sunday Times obtained a copy of its “workers’ conduct policy” which states: “Sexual relationships are acceptable with service users initially met during work time”. Most health and social work organisations ban professionals from establishing relationships with patients and clients.

To which the Guardian adds, so as not to create confusion:

The rules do not relate to the charity’s work with children. 

Mesmac’s chief executive, Tom Doyle, gets the right to reply:

“We understand that, viewed out of context of Yorkshire Mesmac’s suite of policies including safeguarding of children and of adults at risk, there is a possibility that this code of conduct could be misunderstood.”

The policy was now being redrafted.

Spotter: Times

Posted: 22nd, October 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money, Politicians | Comment


Charity trekker discovers Mount Kilimanjaro is no longer in Wales

Mount Kilimanjaro is not in Wales. Never has been. But Nikki Barnett didn’t know that when she signed up for a charity hike to the summit. “I just thought it was a mountain,” Barnett is quoted in the Metro, which gives her age as 51, one year younger than she is the Sun said. “I’m not being funny, but I’ve always struggled with the pronunciation of names in Wales, so I thought that’s where it was. It was a shock when we found out where it really was.”

In the Coventry Telegraph, which first published the story three days ago, Nicki (51!), says she’s doing the climb for the hospice that cared for her late sister.

You can back them both here. I’ve done a trek for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Raising the money can be very tough. A little bit can go a long way.

 

Posted: 8th, September 2017 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


Cancer charity wrongly paid founder £31,000 from £900,000 budget with £27,000 left over for charitable activities

Have you been mugged by a charity? The Charity Commission has issued an official warning to the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline, citing a  “significant breaches of trust”.

The charity’s founder Wendy Watson MBE was paid £31,000 for her good works. The Times explains where the money in the box ends up:

Wendy Watson MBE, who was also a trustee, was paid from the charity’s £909,634 budget. In total £874,539 was set down in the charity’s accounts as “fundraising expenses and other costs”, with just £27,403, or 3 per cent, left over for charitable activities.

The needy got less than Watson’s take?

Among other financial irregularities discovered by the watchdog were informal loans between Mrs Watson and the charity, and payments to her daughter for work as a fundraiser.

The Charity Commission’s “OFFICIAL WARNING” states:

Under the power in section 75A1(b) of the Charities Act 2011 the Charity Commission for England and Wales (“the Commission”) issues the following OFFICIAL WARNING to The National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline – 1150183 on the grounds that the Charity Commission considers that the trustees of the charity have committed a breach of trust or duty or misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity in relation to:

 making unauthorised payments to a connected person
 entering into an informal loan agreement with a connected person
 improperly delegating the administration and management of the charity
 failing to keep proper minutes and other records of decision making
 failing to properly implement and manage financial controls.

You can find out what charities spend against money raised and the percent funded by the state here.

Posted: 14th, August 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment


The Dryathon: no, cancer patients want you to drink and have fun

Have you shaved your head for cancer? Have you stopped drinking for Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon? Stop. Rather, carry on. Drink. Grow your hair and have fun. Abstinence is for the religious and the dependent.

Stopping the booze for a month is like braking as you pass the speed cameras, only to slap your foot on the accelerator as you leave the police zone of intolerance?

Don’t stop. Drink! Your local cancer patient demands it.

PS – yes, if you are worried about booze leading to cancer, then give it up. But, then, lots of stuff has been linked to cancer. Will you give up broccoli, too?

 

Posted: 12th, September 2016 | In: Reviews | Comment


Cross-dressed: offence-seeking transgender group calls police on children’s hospice charity race

Not funny. Not funny at all

Not funny. Not funny at all

 

How thin is your skin? The Telegraph reports on “the Charity race for children’s hospice where runners dress in drag is ‘a hate crime’.

If dressing up a woman is hate crime will Dame Edna be summoned before the Beak?

A charity fun run that invited men to dress up as women is being investigated by police after a transgender charity claimed the dress code constituted a hate crime.

We’re offended that transgender is being confused with transvestite.

Officers were asked to look into the ‘Dames on the Run’ race – where men run dressed as women to raise funds for a children’s hospice – by a transsexual support group.

Chrysalis Transsexual Support Groups say the five kilometre run, organised by Derian House Children’s Hospice, in Chorley, Lancashire, is “dehumanising”.

It is.

 

dames on the run

 

Anorak has long wondered why some men seize the chance to dress as women – always tarty ones, too. If asked to dress as awoman to save a child’s life, I’d pull on Comfi-Slax and a smart tank top over a crisp white shirt in tribute to the BBC’s ubiquitous Clare Balding.

They are now attempting to stop the run, due to take place in October, which raises money to support the hospice that looks after sick and terminally ill children. Steph Holmes, of Chrysalis, said: “We get enough confusion with the word transgender, which mixes us up with transvestites.”

Yeah. That was our point, too.

“Transvestites certainly don’t dress for comic purposes and I don’t get up in the morning and think ‘what can I put on today to give people a laugh?'”

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 08.01.38

 

What about if it’s for charity? What then, Steph?

“This race pokes fun at cross-dressing and, by association, us, reducing us to objects to be laughed at.”

We’re laughing now, Steph. You’re a witty one, alright. Your parody is a bit to knowing to rival the aforesaid Dame for belly laughs, but the intelligensia and the student Unionists should get it.

“Dehumanising us this way gives carte blanche to those that would do us physical harm, much like the gay bashers of old.”

Raising money for sick children is dehumanising. Steph’s a bit edgy for mainstream tastes, but we’ll go with it.

“It’s a small step from ridicule to persecution. The current stats suggest a 34 per cent chance of beaten up, raped or killed for being trans. We do not need to give the bigots any more ammunition.”

If you want to rape the charity runners, you’ll have to catch them first.

“I am sure that Derian House didn’t intend to give offence. The very fact that its a children’s hospice should make them sensitive to potential bad publicity and the effect that this has on young trans people.”

At which point we’d take this as a cue for young trans person who also happens to be desperately ill to say how offended they are. If Jerry Sadowitz is looking for a new gag, this might be it. The desperately ill transgender person could go into a long riff on how they’d like to murder everyone on the Derien House money raising committee but lack the strength to do so. Sadowitz would rattle a tin and invite anyone who cares to give money and thereby hire an assassin to help out the poorly young transgender victim.

That for later. For now a spokesman for Derian House says: “Oh, just F*** off.”

No. They don’t. They say:

“As a children’s hospice, we deal with highly sensitive and emotive issues all the time and would never have considered organising a fundraising event that might cause upset or offence. Dames on the Run was conceived as a fun event, drawing on the much-loved Pantomime Dame character that is part of our theatrical heritage and supported by hundreds of thousands of people in every year.

“It was intended appeal to the fathers of desperately sick children, who do so much to hold their family together in the face of their child’s devastating illness and who ask for very little support in return.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for them to participate in a fun-packed event and encourage other men to show their support and raise vitally needed funds for the hospice.

“We were shocked to receive a complaint, and our chief executive wrote immediately to apologise for any offence caused and assure her that none was intended.
“She has accepted an invitation to visit the hospice on Monday.”

We then her from Lancashire Police, who say:

“We are aware of and investigating an incident that was reported to us as a hate crime on Thursday.”

And that’s the biggest joke of the lot.

Posted: 23rd, August 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment


Dogging Paddle: Kent Rotary Club President In Swimmers Not Swingers Charity Swim

merman kent

 

“SHE burst out laughing as soon as she saw it and said ‘Dad, that’s what they call a gimp suit!’ So recalls David Cavel, 71, president of  Whitstable Rotary Club, who thought he was buying a merman costume.

He adds: “I didn’t know what it was but when she told me I thought it accounted for the odd emails I’ve been sent since I bought it.”

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Posted: 20th, October 2014 | In: Strange But True | Comment


Homeless man proves Atheists are more generous than Christians and Muslims

RELIGIONS are often the first to point out how good charity is and that we should always reach out to those in need. However, one homeless chap has conducted an experiment which shows religious people aren’t taking their own advice.

The homeless man, as seen in a Reddit thread, bears a sign that says: “Which religion cares the most about the homeless?” There are nine begging bowls in front of him, each with money in them.

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Posted: 16th, May 2013 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment (1)


Red Nose Day: English more tightfisted than Scottish, despite stereotype

Harrogate stock

YOU’VE heard the jokes about Scottish people being tight fisted. However, ‘throwing his money around like a Scotsman with no arms’ doesn’t hold any water when you discover that it is in fact the English who are tightwads.

On this Red Nose Day – the day where comedy raises money for good causes, yet weirdly, acts as the single most depressing day in the calendar – a study of British philanthropy found that the Scottish are much more generous than the folk south of the border.

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Posted: 15th, March 2013 | In: Reviews | Comment


Now that’s what I call tax avoidance: the Cup Trust

THIS story is really rather mindboggling. A charity that raked in £176 million over two years and then donated £55,000 to other charities. The rest of the £176 million went on fund raising costs. I have to say that I’m stunned by the audacity of it to be honest.

It’s entirely different from all of the various bits of corporate tax avoidance that the newspapers have been full of. Starbucks, as an example, simply didn’t make UK profits so they shouldn’t be paying any UK profit tax. The Vodafone thing was about who rules? UK law or EU? To which the answer is EU. And it’s possible to go on down the list of all of the UK Uncut campaigns and point out that they’re just not tax avoidance.

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Posted: 11th, February 2013 | In: Money | Comment


Mary J. Blige: Charity scammer?

SHE may have given soul music a shot in the arm by introducing it to hip hop, but Mary J. Blige could be in a mountain of trouble. Mary J. set up a charity, but sadly, rather than empowering women, it has been bouncing cheques, doesn’t have an office or a phone number and has seen hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations going walkies, allegedly.

Blige’s charity failed to file its tax returns as well as its annual state-charity registration, which means it has been slapped with two lawsuits. One claims that the group has swindled musicians regarding a 2011 fund-raising gala and another alleges the charity has defaulted on a $250,000 loan.

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Posted: 30th, May 2012 | In: Celebrities | Comment


Amy Winehouse And Tony Bennett’s Duet Appears Online – Have A Listen

HAHAHA! Wasn’t it funny when a young woman died after battling with the pain that once made great tunes ended up eating her whole! Really funny! She wasn’t even in her thirties! WHAT A RIOT! AMY WINEHOUSE WAS MENTALLY ILL! HA HA HA!

Of course, it really isn’t funny when a young talented woman dies, but if it wasn’t for our collective gallows humour, we’d probably spend all day crying.

We may still have our chance to weep like emo-babies because it’s pretty obvious that Amy Winehouse’s record label will be eyeing up a load of half-assed demos and looking at making a pretty penny on them. That said, not all posthumous releases are going to be lame as a short clip of the leaked Amy Winehouse duet with Tony Bennett has appeared online.

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Posted: 23rd, August 2011 | In: Music | Comment


Katie Price Pulls Out Of London Marathon, Saving Us From Seeing Her Hideously Sweating Everywhere

KATIE Price – or Jordan if you’re from the ’90s – has decided to do us all a massive favour by pulling out of this year’s London Marathon, saving us all from the awful image of her distorted face and voluminous breasts pumping out orange sweat onto the pavements of the nation’s capital.

It’s tempting to think that she could have actually gone ahead with the thing, allowing people to point and laugh while blurting out “LOOK! That Katie Price outfit is amazingly unrealistic! Those lips look like a burst settee. Wait. That’s not the real deal is it?”

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Posted: 13th, April 2011 | In: Celebrities | Comment


Charity Declares War On Charity Muggers With Weed And Guns

TO Albuquerque, where do-gooders have dropped a gun, ammo, a grenade and some marijuana into a charity collection box at Goodwill store.

Finally! The tools we need to wage war on the charity muggers.

To the shopping precinct!

Posted: 6th, September 2010 | In: Strange But True | Comment


The Hyde Park Moon Walk And Underwater Shark Cycling: Pictures

TINA Aydon pedals her way around the shark tank at Deep Sea World near Edinburgh in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign charity.

Also, we’ve a gallery of participants dressed in decorative bras at Hyde Park, London, shortly before the start of the 26.2 mile course across London that is the Playtex MoonWalk, to raise money for breast cancer research and cancer care, organised by Nina Barough’s Walk the Walk.

The walk is 26.2 miles.

It’s no walk in the park…

8851528

Picture 1 of 13

Participants dressed in decorative bras at Hyde Park, London, shortly before the start of the 26.2 mile course across London that is the Playtex MoonWalk, to raise money for breast cancer research and cancer care, organised by Walk the Walk.

Posted: 16th, May 2010 | In: Reviews | Comment