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On 6 June 2011 - 4:04pm

We have it in our power to build the world anew.”

Thomas Paine 1737 -1809

To celebrate 25 years of wedded bliss (well, most of the time), my husband and I headed off on a week of cultural events, stopping in the little town of Lewes.  I was surprised to discover that Thomas Paine, author of The Rights of Man (1791), had lived here from 1768 to 1774, before heading to America – where he not only changed their constitution but was also central to naming it the United States of America.

For those of you less familiar, The Rights of Man posited that people have natural rights along with responsibilities, but can revolt if the government is failing to safeguard those natural rights and interests. Paine also argued for the ‘Rights of ...more

Posted By Adrian Ashton
On 6 June 2011 - 4:01pm

As an advisor I hold various qualifications in respect of what I do (see here for shiny certificates) – but in light of changing standards, awarding bodies, expectations of others, and so on, I recently considered: “what’s the point?”.

For the groups, peoples and communities I support, they certainly aren’t bothered – what’s important to them is the relationship I build with them and my ability to get them where they need and want to be.

However, Commissioning bodies, especially public bodies, are keener to see these pieces of paper. But having been involved in both developing and gaining sector qualifications, and ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 6 June 2011 - 11:30am

Well , there was a deep irony in making further editing changes to the " Delivering real choice" report whilst sitting in the A and E at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford. My partner has " tennis calf" , very painful. Delighted to say we were only there for just over an hour , so no need to compete then eh!

I spoke too soon on the Charlbury Big Society Library. There has been a public meeting and the good citizens of Charlbury have decided that it is not their role to subsidise the county council and that there are lots of other things which charlburiams are doing on volunteering.

So it's the final week for the deliberations. We have a meeting of the groups this week and it's off to the printers. I see that the politicians are still not quite able to get the "pause " thing and we are to get another speech tomorrow. Why can't they actually wait till our Report is out. It's only a matter of days. It must make our work look less relevant when they can't wait. ...more

On 5 June 2011 - 5:05pm

Enjoying a calm Sunday after a breathless week. Business has quickened in the last couple of months. Suddenly I am not finding the time to blog, Tweet or follow the daily trail. Big proposal went in Friday. Should it come in I will feel the business really has legs.

One of the things I do to wind down is sort out the garden. Not planting or digging, just mowing and tidying. Then a trip to the tip. I love going there. Am I the only bloke who feels a strange purposefulness in filling my boot and heading down the dump? The one I use is a great place, one of the best in the country - managing to recycle 86% of what is left there. Which, when you look into the vast skips, is an achievement. All those settees, lawnmower, computers, fence-panels and rusty bikes.

Like a lot of us, I think a lot about the long-term future. All the stuff we produce and throw. One of my tasks today was to get rid of a knackered trampoline. All that metal and fabric - ...more

On 4 June 2011 - 10:36pm

Bob keeping a watchful eye on my poor old apples
You can tell I've been home this week because both the allotment and garden are looking pretty tidy. I have to say my garden is stunning this year with waterfalls of roses and clumps of geraniums taking centre stage, giving the house a delicious slightly decadent smell.

Down at the allotment however, things are not going so well. Today I lifted my red onions because they had bolted. This could have been due to an early sowing or the particularly cold spring we have had, but either way, once the onions had tried to flower I knew it was game over, so out they came and I've put some bulb fennel seeds in to see if ...more

Posted By Ed Mayo's blog
On 4 June 2011 - 8:44am

The Guardian carries a report on the findings of the forthcoming review on the sexualisation of children by Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers’ Union. This sounds like a creative and welcome set of proposals and marks quite a fundamental change from a debate dominated by the denials and hand wringing of the marketing industry of past years after the publication of Consumer Kids.

That tone of that debate matters, because although it is the response of Government rather than the proposals of the review that will define what now happens, this is an issue for us all. To find a way through that is good for children and their development, with early sexuality and gender roles so imprinted in the cultural environment in which they grow up, is a complex and multifaceted challenge. The point, at heart, is for children to value themselves more for who they are rather than how they are seen.

This can only be addressed through a common sense of purpose – a social policy ...more

Posted By Changemakers blogs
On 3 June 2011 - 7:22pm

[Editor's note: This post was written by Alison Craiglow Hockenberry, contributing editor at Ashoka's Changemakers®, and originally featured on the Huffington Post.]

If the global financial crisis taught us anything, it's that leaving the fate of our collective economic health in the hands of a select few members of an exclusive club with their own narrow agenda is no longer a credible way of doing business. That's true for almost every institution involved, from the banks that crafted impenetrable mortgage bundles for gambling purposes to the decision-making bodies that oversee international economic stability.

While reforming the private institutions that made a casino out of the U.S. housing ...more

On 3 June 2011 - 3:12pm


While Rome burns, pitch for the rebuilding work…

Now far be it from me to use my blog to let off a little steam or pick a fight.  Far be it from me to pick a fight with Liam Black, especially seeing as we’re having lunch in Leeds next week!

But here goes, with perhaps another perspective on his leader article…

One thing I do have to agree with Liam on is this.  I think it is the time for social enterprise to stick its neck out and get some backbone.  I think it is time for social enterprise to recognise that when you take money ...more

On 3 June 2011 - 11:06am

“And where the bloody hell are the leaders of the so-called ‘social enterprise movement’ whilst all the hard won gains made over many years are being wiped out on the ground? They appear naive and way, way out of their depth. Dare they publicly take on a government which still pays most of their bills?”

Anyone who was previously uncertain about former Fifteen boss and Social Enterprise Ambassador, Liam Black’s view on the current performance of social enterprise leaders will now have had that uncertainty conclusively removed.

Before reaching that storming conclusion, Black makes a number of points that I strongly agree with. The central one being that there’s a massive gap between Big Society rhetoric about supporting organisations that help communities to help themselves and ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 3 June 2011 - 9:05am

I was cooking the pasta when 2 nice ladies knocked at the door asking for money. I was delighted to oblige. They were from Macmillan Cancer Care! They asked me if I knew much about Macmillan and the work on cancer. I said oh yes indeed, but spared them a lengthy talk on just how much , or indeed my work in promoting integrated care pathways as part of the future forum. It would have been unkind.

So I signed the forms and wished them well. It goes without saying that Macmillan CEO , Ciarán Devane is an ACEVO member. They do great work. When silly people on the tory backbenches or in remote corners of our own dear third sector complain about big national charities they should remember the extraordinary work of the big cancer charities; saving lives, providing support and research and much needed patient centred services and hang their heads in shame.

We had a meeting of the 5 chairs of the Forum this morning to run through the 4 panel reports. Fascinating. Well, I ...more