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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 2 July 2015 - 11:18am

The National Trust is one our country's most loved charities and yesterday I was having an NT day by visiting two of their much loved houses, Greenway and Coleton Fishacre.  Greenway is a stunning Georgian house set into the wooded hills overlooking the Dart river, just downstream from Dartmouth.  The best way to arrive as did my brother, father and old fiend John, is to take the ferry up river and get off at the Greenway landing.  This old house was the much loved home of Agatha Christie and was gifted to the NT by the daughter and grandson of Dame Agatha.  It contains much of the contents of the house as it was in her day. You can walk into her bedroom and still hear her talking (an old radio interview playing from a Roberts radio!).  Clever lot the NT. 
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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 30 June 2015 - 5:52pm

Assiduous readers of the Blog will realise it's that time of year again, when the Bubb's decamp en mass to Hope Cove in Devon.  I'm here for a long weekend with my siblings, parents and assorted nephews and nieces.  Hope Cove is a gorgeous spot, an idyllic fishing village surrounded by the rolling lush hills of the Devon countryside.  The cliffs are particular spectacular and what's more, they are third sector cliffs.  Owned by the National Trust, which is one of our most treasured environmental charities.

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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 29 June 2015 - 12:45pm

The recent attention given to fundraising has acted as a wake up call for us to sort out the best possible standards for what we do in asking for money from the public.
I have been spending time consulting my CEO members about how we tackle the issues raised in parts of the media about fundraising practices. ACEVO convened a particularly good breakfast  round table at the Charities Aid Foundation with senior CEOs which helped clarify the actions we need to take. Of course not all my members do public fundraising, many do small amounts, and some of our bigger best loved charities like the Red Cross, BHF, Macmillan and  cancer research charities for example do a lot.
A general consensus has emerged that, while this is not a crisis, we must treat this seriously. As David McCullough of RVS commented , the age of deference is over and people/media are more happy to have a go at institutions of all sorts. It is also clear that there has been no impact in terms of giving and ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 24 June 2015 - 3:10pm

Just coming back from an inspirational visit to see the work of Young Epilepsy at their base in Lingfield. Here they run a school and college for people with the most difficult of forms of epilepsy, provide residential homes, hospital and diagnostic faculties, a farm and horticultural centre.  Set up in the 19th century by 2 Anglican priests who bought the magnificent site for £5k it has grown and adapted to modern day demands for a particularly vulnerable community who cannot prosper or learn in mainstream schooling and who need high levels of emotional support and care by highly professional staff and teachers.  They also do important research and they campaign for a better deal for young people with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is the most common childhood neurological disorder.  I didn't know this but on average there's one diagnosed child in every primary school and five in every secondary school.  It's a condition that is widely misunderstood and I have to say I found my visit ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 22 June 2015 - 4:42pm

Interesting comment from Zac Goldsmith MP recently. He said,

'Islamic Relief is a dazzling organisation. Its strength comes from its ability to work at the grassroots with thousands of volunteers, mosques, youth organisations – with members of all religions and none’.

(Zac G at the IR Ramadan dinner last week).

We need more Parliamentarians who understand the power of Muslim charities generally to work in communities. ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 19 June 2015 - 12:09pm

Ramadan has begun and as ever, during this holy month, the Muslim community in Britain gears up its giving commitment. But at the moment, there will be little heard about that. Instead, we are confronted daily with the reality of young people being coerced into extremism, people from our own communities, within our shores.
I think there is a connection between these two things, and this connection has been sadly underexplored. Following my field visit to Pakistan with the Muslim Charities Forum earlier this year I've been convinced you can only win the battle against extremism if you fight with both hands. So on the one hand, security and legislative means. On the other, there is a development approach. You need to understand the role of Islamic charities, civil society organisations and how the leadership of those organisations is developed. The attention of the media and Government has been relentless on the former and they say very little - nothing in fact - about the ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 18 June 2015 - 11:07am

No, I'm not think it of doing that. Or suggesting some outré practise with gaiters...
Andrew Purkis, former ACEVO member and now a superb blogger, has provided a fascinating reflection on the current debate around campaigning.  As he points out the Churches are often highly political.  Pope Francis intends to be highly political in his Encyclical on climate change.  On a number of occasions church leaders have spoken out for the poor and against the Government. Long may they do so.  Long may they ignore nonsense from the tabloids, which try to make them out as loony lefties, or in the pay of Labour. Surely the root of the Christian doctrine is a campaigning spirit on behalf of the poor and disposed. What else was the Sermon on the Mount about or the Song of Mary. 
So I recommend it to you.  I have certainly recommended it to the Commission as they contemplate their review of CC 9.  
Here it is in full. 
"In much public discourse in the UK, religion and faith ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 17 June 2015 - 3:46pm

Always good to be in Edinburgh - one of the world's great cities and its wasn't raining....
Here for a joint ACEVO/ACOSVO meeting to discuss the future of our sector and cross border relations. ACOSVO - The Chief Officers of the Scottish Voluntary sSctor - is our sister organisation here, and I have been working with the redoubtable Pat Armstong, their CEO,  over the last decade in building partnership. We had a pleasant dinner and chat about future joint work - particularly how we can mobilise SNP MPs on issues that affect our third sector generally .
Me and Pat Armstrong, CEO of ACOSVOThe context of the referendum and the election have given added spice to the discussion with a range of the leaders of cross ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 12 June 2015 - 4:49pm

David Anderson QC has published a weighty report on his review of terrorism legislation. At 379 pages, it's quite a read.  But what I found fascinating is that he devotes a whole chapter to civil society. Chapter 12. It’s worth a read.
His general approach to our sector is very wise. It’s one that the Government would do well to heed, when they are wondering about the value of civil society campaigning. His words could almost have come out of ACEVO’s 2015 election manifesto, which highlighted the need for government to safeguard a ‘free society’, for the sake of informed public debate and good quality laws. He said:
“A wise legislator will proceed however on the basis that the legal framework governing investigatory powers must be sufficiently robust to satisfy not only ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 11 June 2015 - 5:19pm

The Chair of the Charity Commission said in a speech this week that the sector is in ‘crisis’. 

This is very disappointing. I would expect the charity regulator to rise above the noise of the tabloids, and make the public case for charities’ work. Their speeches should extol the importance of charities and the vital contribution we make. They should be telling people what they are doing to help us with the work we do.

Firm regulation is a part of the Charity Commission’s and its chair’s job. But just as important is their job to speak out for and support the organisations they regulate. At the very least, they should be leading the public debate, not following the lead set by lurid coverage in the press.

I certainly don’t think it is the Chair of the Charity Commission’s job to court national controversy for the sector he is ...more