Friday 19 September 2008

Dogs and Children

On the roof gardens at Kensington High St last night. Those very old like me will recall this was Biba! It was the launch of "Action for Children" the new name for NCH. Originally the national childrens homes set up by the Methodists. It is run by superstar CEO Clare Tickell, who is closely involved in acevo matters and plays a leading role in our sector. Its a great charity. One of the country's biggest, but with great local and community reach too.
Its packed. And no rain so we can wander the marvellous gardens. Lots of sector gliterati, though there is a rival attraction in the charity Awards. Me and my deputy the esteemed Dr Kyle are with Clare and my Membership director with the Awards!
I'm told by a number of people that it was national take your dog to work day. I'm devastated. I did not know or I would have taken Sparkles into work. I suspect a plot by my staff to hide this fact. Though it has to be said Sparkles has livened up the office on a number of occasions, once famously " performing "in front of Esther Rantzen in my office!

And on the subject of large national charities I read a wonderful letter from Martin Narey in "Third Sector" taking to task somebody who was complaining about the "tescoisation" of the sector. Its a brilliant expose of the nonsense of this claim. Barnados have loads of incredibly well run local projects. They are rooted in the community and it is insulting to the many thousands of staff, volunteers and supporters to make this sort of jibe. The fact that the person concerned probably shops at Tesco because it is convenient, has great opening hours and provides a wide range of well priced produce makes this line even more non sensical

This juvenile nonsense about large charities needs to be stamped on. I know from my work as Chair of the Adventure Capital Fund that community organisations do fantastic work. I know large charities do that as well. The idea that only small charities are good and all those many people involved in large charities are somehow grasping capitalists (I assume that is the Tesco point) is outrageous. I email Martin and say well done

The Futurebuilders board meeting on Tuesday was great, though the investment bankers and venture capitalists on our Board were somewhat glum. However one of them did say how fantastic to come to a meeting of a Board still making investments (they are not). We have an interesting discussion about how we should be helping shape markets through our investment policy and not just reacting to them. We are working up ideas on this and will be holding a strategic away day soon to develop the ideas. If we are to compete effectively as a sector we may need to consider supporting merger and consortia support.

The recession is really hitting home and members are increasingly concerned at long term effects if this lasts long - fundraising , legacies, corporate sponsorship may be hit. Grants will be precarious. But as I say in the Guardian this week. Those with contracts and with expanding service delivery roles will be less affected. And who knows, this may drive further reform in the public services - the innovative amongst us will be grabbing opportunities to deliver better services and persuade the state to outsource more. I drop a note to Ed to make the point that its the time to renew calls for more sector service delivery. And while I'm at it I make arrangements to see various politicians at the forthcoming labour and tory conferencs.

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