Saturday, 21 February 2009

Blogging for change, and Hot Cross Buns

So it was a blog that helped uncover the alleged fraud at Stanfords. And blogs that are causing a debate about Labour's leadership . The power of the Blog . It has certainly become a phenomenon . But I'm not sure all understand its value or power to change. That can only happen if it is a space for the informal, irreverent , edgy and hopefully amusing comments . A space to provoke and challenge . But also to humour and tease. The day my Blog becomes like an official ACEVO press release , take me out and shoot me !

Matthew Taylor's Blog is a great example of a blog that provokes and encourages debate . A recent Taylor blog has tackled the sector and recession . He argues the sector must hold its nerve . To be " generous and brave" over the coming period . He argues the sector needs as many people as possible to " do what they can to help keep activities going and stimulate new initiatives ... the sector needs to show courage and leadership " How right this is .
To read Matthew's blog click here.

He also argues for charities to use their reserves. " After all , what are those reserves for if not to be used at the time of greatest need " It is a point made by my Chair , Lesley-Anne Alexander who says that if you have reserves for a rainy day then you better spend them now it is raining. More umbrellas needed!

And ACEVO is showing leadership here . We agreed at our Board to take 20k from our reserves to spend on bolstering services and advice for members facing crisis . We will unveil these plans next week . They will be exciting and show how we are there to build the capacity of our sector to cope with the recession . They will help support the essential leadership role of the Chief Executive .

Polly Toynbee has another great article in the Guardian today . She points to the need for a bold vision from government. She argues that a bold, brave April budget is the time to do this . She is right .And she is right to point to the lack of clarity or cohesion in government on issues like bonuses and business regulation . And that budget must show how the Government sees the role of our sector in building for recovery through job creation , bold new volunteering g initiatives and help for the rising army of the unemployed . We need vision . And the sector is a part of that .
Click here to read Polly's piece.

Baroness Howarth cannot make my lecture on the 3rd march but in her reply to my invite she writes ;

" I wanted to send a personal message of encouragement about what you have to say . The third sector is indeed an important part of the national economy and also contributes to social cohesion and stability . My worry is that as the recession bites further we will lose many important projects that can no longer attract funds from government , trusts or the corporate sector . ...if services close down what will happen to the users ".

It is a glorious spring day in Charlbury . recession gloom is far away .I put aside my blackberry to enjoy some light gardening . the vine gets a good pruning . Later I'm in our Local " Good Food Shop " , a local co-operative venture and purveyor of fine foods to the discerning. They are a good source of ginger roots ; oh how I remember the Ginger Beer my mother used to make when we were children and Seville oranges for essential fine marmalade making and other such condiments . But this morning they are selling Hot Cross Buns. They are admonished by one of our local Parish Councillors and stalwart of the Church . She reminds them that we have not had Lent yet . Indeed Ash Wednesday is not till the 25th . One remembers from one's childhood that hot cross buns , preferably mother made , are only eaten on Good Friday . Another example of the general decline in standards . And I won't even go into the scandal of the local Co-op shamelessly selling Easter eggs .

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