Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Harry to join African charity build

Royal soldier Prince Harry is to join servicemen from his regiment working in Africa for a charity he set up to help vulnerable children.

The prince, a lieutenant in the Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals, will travel to the Kingdom of Lesotho later this summer with military colleagues to help build care facilities and repair infrastructure for projects supported by his organisation.

Harry, 23, launched Sentebale - which means forget-me-not - in memory of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in 2006.

The organisation helps Aids orphans and other vulnerable children in the southern African country by offering community projects financial aid and management support.

The three-week expedition will be led by an officer senior to Harry and the project has also secured a sponsorship deal with car makers Land Rover. The company will provide off-road vehicles to help with transport over the Kingdom's mountainous terrain.

It is normal practice for Army expeditions to seek sponsorship and expeditions are frequently planned by the military to help with personal development and team building.

The trip by members of the Household Cavalry to southern Africa has been planned for some time but it is thought the Prince suggested Sentebale as a beneficiary of Army help.

Harry has returned to his unit in recent weeks after enjoying time off following a tour of duty in Afghanistan cut short in February when a reporting blackout on the deployment was broken.

The Prince has had a long association with Lesotho - a place he first visited during his gap year in 2004 when he met young TB and Aids sufferers.

He established Sentebale with the Kingdom's Prince Seeiso and has made a number of trips back to Africa to receive updates about the charity's progress.

Oxford University launches 'historic' £1.25 billion fundraising drive

Oxford University is launching a campaign to raise £1.25 billion to enable it to compete with US Ivy League colleges.

The 800-year-old institution has recruited a line-up of influential patrons to back the drive which it hopes will protect its unique one-on-one tutorial system, pay for hundreds of new fellowships and expand accommodation, library facilities.

It has recruited a line-up of famous graduates including former Monty Python member Michael Palin, scientist Richard Dawkins and Sir Roger Bannister, who was still a student at Oxford when he achieved the four-minute mile.

The drive is being billed as "the most important campaign ever organised by a European university" to allow it to compete on an equal footing with major global rivals such as Harvard and Yale.

The university believes the cash will "provide security in a world of uncertain state funding".

Oxford and Cambridge were recently ranked the equal second best university in the world, with Harvard in first place.

But leading US universities receive much larger funding than Oxbridge, thanks to support from generous rich graduates.

British academics also fear growing competition from expanding higher education institutions in countries such as China and India.

Oxford is expected to unveil a string of eye-catching donations at a high-profile campaign launch in London.

The fundraising campaign is expected to pave the way for a major recruitment drive for new academic talent from around the world.

The oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford can trace its history back to the 11th Century.

A total of 25 British Prime Ministers studied there, including William Gladstone, Margaret Thatcher, and Tony Blair. Conservative leader David Cameron also studied at Oxford.


Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Online Fundraising: Attract Donors with Search Engine Optimization

Search engines are the most common way that potential donors will find your website. A non-profit website that appears near the top of search engine results will witness a dramatic increase in traffic compared with competing websites that appear further down in the results.

Like every other charity, you want a high ranking on the search engines. Unfortunately, many charity websites appear poorly in search engine rankings-or not at all-because they are not written and designed to take advantage of how search engines work.

So how do search engines rank your web pages?

Among many other things, search engines pay attention to the location and frequency of keywords on each of your web pages. Keywords are simply those words that characterize your mission. If you are the American Cancer Society, for example, then “cancer,” “breast cancer” and “cancer treatment” are some of your keywords. If you are a human rights charity, then “death penalty,” “free speech” and “torture” are among your keywords.

When your potential donors search online for information about you or about the cause you champion, they type into a search engine the keywords that they associate with you and your work.

As far as the search engines are concerned, web pages with these search terms in the HTML title tag are more relevant than pages without them. Pages with these search terms near the top of the page (in the headline and first few paragraphs of text) are more relevant than pages without them. And pages that contain these search terms frequently on the page are more relevant than other web pages.

Your goal is to discover what keywords the majority of searchers type into the search engines when they are looking for information that you can help them with. Then put these keywords into the most strategic parts of your website, which include:

  • Domain name
  • Page title tag
  • Meta description tag
  • Meta keyword tag
  • Headings
  • Sentences and paragraphs near the top of your page

This process is called Search Engine Optimization. It makes sure your web pages are easily found by search engines, easily indexed by search engines, and given a high ranking by search engines, so your site appears at the top of searches.

If you need help attracting donors and potential donors to your website, listen to a recent 90-minute seminar I delivered called, “How to Attract Donors to Your Website.”

About the author

Alan Sharpe is a professional fundraising letter writer, instructor, author and newsletter publisher who helps non-profit organizations raise funds, build relationships and retain loyal donors using cost-effective, compelling, creative fundraising letters. Sign up for free weekly tips like this at

Weymouth girl's T-Shirt launched for charity walk

A special T-shirt designed by an 11-year old Weymouth girl is to be worn by more than 100 police officers and staff when they take part in a sponsored charity walk along the breathtaking Dorset coast next month.
Raising money for Cancer Research UK, the Jurassic Plod will cover 50 miles and begins at West Bay near Bridport on Friday 6 June 2008 – finishing in the Purbeck quarrying village of Worth Matravers on Sunday 8 June, 2008.

Produced and sponsored for Dorset Police by Weymouth-based fashion chain New Look Men, the design on the special T-shirt is the work of 11 year old Jadene Ellis who attends the Radipole Primary School in Weymouth.

The result of a competition among Year Six pupils at the school, the new T-shirt was launched by Dorset Police Chief Constable Martin Baker and Superintendent Colin Stanger from HQ CID – both of whom are taking part in the Jurassic Plod – and Jadene Ellis as well as Arlene Corvan from New Look Men.

One of the event organisers is Mike Glanville, Head of CID for Dorset Police, who said: “Obviously, cancer touches all of us in some way or another and Dorset Police is no exception.

“Many of our colleagues and their families have been directly affected by this terrible disease and this event gives us an opportunity to at least contribute in some small way to the fantastic work which is undertaken by Cancer Research UK.”

Dorset Police has also received tremendous support from the Army at its Chickerell Camp and Lulworth military bases in Dorset where two teams have been entered into the event.

Dorset Police Chief Constable, Martin Baker, said: “We’ve had great support from the Army who have helped us enormously with accommodation and catering arrangements.

“As well as raising money for Cancer Research UK, we are also aiming to contribute towards the ‘Help for Heroes’ fund which has been set up to support wounded soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

A special party after the Jurassic Plod on July 17 will see organisers, walkers and sponsors be present for the handing over of the collection cheque to Cancer Research UK. The party will also see some additional fund-raising activity.

Inverness charity is recognised as top employer

New Start chief executive salutes his ‘exemplary’ team of staff and volunteers

A CHARITY has been recognised as “overall excellent employer” in the Highland Diversity awards.

Inverness-based New Start offers practical help and advice to homeless people making the move into their own accommodation.

The charity supplies reconditioned furniture and white goods to about 2,000 people a year, and offers a one-to-one housing support service to about 50 people at any one time.

Each year New Start also gives out about 600 starter packs of basic household items, from bedding to cleaning equipment.

Chief executive James Dunbar has been with New Start since it was founded seven years ago, and said the service was continually evolving to meet the needs of the community.

“We have a training centre offering different types of SVQs,” he said, “and we also offer support in life skills to help people get back to work.

“Our latest project is a service that will help tenants to learn practical and useful painting and decorating skills.

“The work we do in recycling furniture and white goods diverts around 750tonnes of waste away from landfill sites.”

Mr Dunbar said the Highland Diversity award was due to the culture within the organisation.

“It’s a great place to work. Our 88 staff and volunteers have created a positive culture in which people from difficult backgrounds have the opportunity to work in a constructive, supportive atmosphere.

“We have an exemplary team.”

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Landing Page Optimization for Online Fundraising

Donordigital and Amnesty International USA teamed up to study the best landing page design principles to optimize online donations. The result was an in-depth eleven page report.

The concept was born out of the e-commerce landing page optimization research done by Marketing Sherpa and Marketing Experiments. Donordigital and Amnesty wanted to test the concepts against nonprofit landing pages, so they worked with Optimost to perform sophisticated tests.

I had the opportunity to attend Marketing Sherpa's landing page optimization certification course and I think the methodology applies easily to the work we do in the nonprofit world. But the key take-away from the Marketing Sherpa course was to never rely on instinct alone. Instead, test everything! And that's exactly what Donordigital and Amnesty International USA did to compile this report.

Some of the key takeaways you'll gain from reading this report include:

  • How to best control button size to increase donations
  • How to use color effectively
  • What size text works best in fundraising appeals
  • When to use more polite headers instead of more demanding language
  • How to get started with testing your own landing pages
  • The effect of third-party validation logos (i.e. VeriSign)
This is one of the best reports I've read in a long time. Thanks to both Donordigital and Amnesty International USA for sharing the full report. You can download the report here.

Article originally appeared on frogloop ~ Care2's Nonprofit Online Communications Community.

Airport staff win prizes for charity

STAFF at Southampton Airport have raised £24,000 for 25 local charities after a host of fundraising activities.

The donations came from the BAA Communities Trust charity at the annual Volunteer Awards held in London that reward staff who raise money for charity.
Three Southampton staff won the top prize each receiving £5,000 for their chosen charities. Other entrants received awards between £200 and £500 each resulting more than £24,000 being donated to charity.

Jason Sugden was one of the members of staff to win £5,000 which he is donating to Cancer Research UK.

The Bitterne Park School Partnership and The Sophie Barringer Trust also received £5,000 each.

Chris Butler, managing director at Southampton, said: "I am extremely proud to work with such a motivated and inspirational group of people, and would like to congratulate them on their achievements."

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Charity appeal to the walkers

FUNDRAISERS in North Tyneside are being encouraged to raise money for Macmillan Cancer by taking part in 'Walk Wonders'.

Macmillan has a number of organised walks, or those interested can arrange their own with friends and family.

Walk Wonders is being backed by npower, which has developed a recipe for an energy boosting smoothie to help when doing the exercise.

The drink contains Vitamin C, which boosts the body's defences against infections and stress, and there are also B6 and potassium.

Kelly Knighting-Wykes community fundraiser for Macmillan in Tyne and Wear said: "We're all trying to be healthier these days so a stroll in the fresh air with friends or family is ideal, and if the energy boosting smoothie tickles your taste buds then why not give it a try?

"On a serious note, however, all the money raised through Walk Wonders helps Macmillan provide practical, medical and emotional support for people affected by cancer.

"We can't do it without people supporting events like Walk Wonders, so grab your walking boots and let's take steps together to help people affected by cancer."

On Sunday, May 18, a family walk along the River Tyne, including a crossing of the Millennium Bridge, will take place.

To register, call 0845 673 0710 or visit and quote reference COR2.

Cancer Research UK garden wins gold at the 2008 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Leading charity Cancer Research UK has won a Gold Medal at the 2008 Chelsea Flower Show for its garden. Designed by three-time Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winner Andy Sturgeon, the inspiration for this year's garden was the enormous amount of progress that Cancer Research UK is making in beating cancer.

Jools Tait from Cancer Research UK said: "We're absolutely thrilled with the garden and delighted that it's been awarded a gold medal. Andy has once again designed a fantastic garden for Cancer Research UK.

"The Chelsea Flower Show provides us with an excellent platform to highlight the progress the charity has made towards beating cancer, for example, half of all newly diagnosed people with cancer now survive beyond five years."

Focusing on the idea of progress, Andy created a contemporary woodland garden with four rectangular pools, which increase in size towards the front of the garden. A series of computer generated raindrop-like ripples begin in sequence from the rear of the garden and dance through the pools towards the front, symbolising the advancement the charity is making.

The dramatic backdrop to the garden is the 'Thought Wall', which is a piece of sculpture in its own right. This has been constructed from shot blasted and waxed aluminium rings. The main plants used are large tree ferns and the unusual Southern Beech, Nothofagus antarctica.

Cancer Research UK has been at the forefront of progress in cancer research for over a century. The charity's work has made a substantial impact on the survival and quality of life of cancer patients throughout the UK. Cancer deaths have fallen by 12 per cent over the last decade, with two out of three women with breast cancer now surviving beyond 20 years.

For further information about Cancer Research UK's garden at the Chelsea Flower Show visit Chelsea Flower Show


For media enquiries please contact Cancer Research UK's press office on 020 7061 8308 or, out of hours, the duty press officer on 07050 264 059.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

UK teams raise money for Wooden Spoon charity

Teams from across the UK took part in England’s toughest charity event, the Ford Ranger Great Lakeland Challenge, on Friday, May 16 and raised almost £80,000 for national charity Wooden Spoon.

The event, which generated £78,358 for disabled and disadvantaged children and young people throughout the UK, saw teams tackle England’s ‘longest, steepest and highest’.

First they canoed the 10.5 mile length of England’s longest lake, Lake Windermere, then cycled a 26-mile route over Wrynose and Hard Knott – England’s steepest passes – before conquering England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike, as part of an eight-mile trek from Wasdale Head to the Langdale Valley.

Completing the Challenge in 7 hours and 53 minutes, the fastest team was the Movianto Motivators, whose members live in Bedford, Wigan and St. Helens. The winners of the cherished wooden spoon, awarded to the last team home, were three brothers from Edinburgh, Stirling and North Berwick – The Tartan Spoon 49ers – with a time of 11 hours and 49 minutes!

For the first time in the 12-year history of the event the main accolade was shared by two teams. The Challenge Bowl, which is awarded for the best combination of time and funds raised, was presented to Two Half Backs and a Prop from Tonbridge in Kent and Carlisle-based Calder Foods. The Fundraising Bowl was won by another family team, The Three Musketeers from Hertfordshire.

Challenge organiser Katharine Brindley said: “On Spoon Challenges we always see a wide range of abilities. Some teams sign up to test themselves and produce fast times, whereas others, like The Tartan Spoon 49ers, sign up for the fun of taking part and celebrating with fellow teams at the awards dinner.

“At the end of the day, the most important thing is that teams enjoy themselves and that we raise as much as we possibly can for Wooden Spoon.”

The Ford Ranger Great Lakeland Challenge is one of a series of Spoon Challenges, which also includes the Four Peaks and End 2 End cycle challenges. Challengers who sign up to each event, pledge to raise a minimum amount for national charity, Wooden Spoon. In 2008, Great Lakeland Challenge teams were required to raise a minimum of £3,900.

For more visit the Spoon Challenges

Monday, 12 May 2008

Action for Blind People

Action for Blind People is a dynamic national charity organisation (founded in 1857). We are one of the biggest charities in the UK guaranteeing blind and partially sighted people be given real and useful support in all sides of their lives. Last year more than 24,000 people were provided our assistance. We prepare visually impaired people for employment and help them in finding appropriate job. Our aim is to encourage blind and partially sighted people and make it possible to have equal opportunities, options and the right to say and be heard.
Website Action for Blind People

Charity Registration number

14/16 Verney Rd, London, SE16 3DZ

8009 154 666

UK 'ready to help quake-hit China'

The UK is poised to help China deal with the devastation wrought by an earthquake that has killed around 10,000 people, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said.

Schools were among buildings toppled by the 7.9-magnitude quake, the country's worst for 30 years, with most of the casualties in the Sichuan province.

Mr Miliband said: "The UK stands ready to assist." He added it was "a further and tragic shock to a region already trying to handle the devastation in Burma".

"Emerging news of the loss of life and devastation in China is deeply saddening," he went on.

"My thoughts are with the Chinese people and those families who have suffered loss. The Chinese government are to be commended for their quick and efficient response."

A Beijing-based charity worker earlier predicted that the death toll would rise.

Dale Rutstein of Unicef China said he had only been able to get limited reports from the epicentre of the disaster in Sichuan Province.

He said: "It is very difficult, almost impossible to get through on the phone but we have had brief, sketchy, conversations with local press reporters who have backed up the main picture.

"I would expect the death toll to rise as Sichuan is one of the most populated provinces and one of the poorest.

"There are a lot of people living in marginal areas that are difficult to get to and a lot of the buildings in those areas are sub-standard and could collapse very quickly."

Thousands race for cancer charity

About 3,000 girls and women took part in the opening Scottish event of this year's Cancer Research UK Race for Life fun runs

The event in Inverness on Sunday was expected to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the charity.

Organisers hoped to raise more than a target figure of £214,000 in sponsor money.

The event involved walking or running 3.1m (5km) through the city, starting and finishing at Bught Park.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

DEC launches urgent Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Appeal as UK charities reach thousands affected

As the number of those affected by the devastating cyclone in Myanmar continues to rise, leading UK charities on the ground in Myanmar (Burma) are starting to reach those who are homeless and without food and water.

With more than 22,000 people now confirmed dead and more than 40,000 missing, the need to respond is immediate and vast. The Disasters Emergency Committee will broadcast a national appeal for the DEC Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Appeal tomorrow 8th May.

For donations, please visit or phone: 0870 60 60 900.

Speaking about the launch DEC Chief Executive, Brendan Gormley, said: "our members are there and need the UK public to show huge generosity to help them reach those thousands of people who have seen their lives and livelihoods uprooted by this disaster."

World Vision, the Red Cross and Save the Children are among the charities who have a long term presence in Myanmar and their teams have responded since the cyclone struck on Saturday. They are already distributing clean drinking water, hygiene kits and emergency relief supplies and aim to scale this up in the days to come.

Please contact DEC Press office: 0207 387 0200 (out of hours - 07930 999 014).


Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Charity Challenges- What an Idea!

Introducing a new spin on charity. Give 2 Others, a nonprofit organization has created a website directed towards making giving a new and fun experience. The site is

Give 2 Others has different challenges for you to choose and accept. Currently there are three levels of challenges ranging from $10 to over $100 and 1 hour to 10 hours. They have created both monetary and hourly challenges to enable everyone to be able to participate. The challenges are also set up so that you can do them on your own or with others.

Each of the monetary challenges have a drop down menu to choose a charity category- the current categories are as follows: Give 2 Others, Autism, Cancer Research, Child Abuse, Domestic Abuse, World Hunger, Where Needed Most. You simply choose a category and your donation will be forwarded quarterly to the charity.

The site also includes a place to send in your experiences or stories to share with others. Each week a new story will be featured. This feature enables you to see how others are giving of themselves.

Give 2 Others relies solely on donations from the public. They have elected to forgo using advertisers on their website in order to keep it simple. If you like what you see on the sight please email a link to everyone in your contact list. The site advertising comes directly from its users and participants.

Give 2 Others (nonprofit) was launched on May 1st, 2008, located in Salt Lake City, UT, US. Give 2 Others would like to issue a challenge to you… the reader- go to the site and start participating in the challenges right away. What a great way to start donating in your life, or add a new angle to how you already give.

Contact Information:

Name: Kate Nielsen

Email: webmaster@give2others.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


Quick Click: 9 Tips for a Fun Fundraising Experience

Whether your child is in the Girl Scout cookie business or is raising money for new basketball team uniforms, find out how best to help.

Some children are enthusiastic about fundraising from the start, while others need some encouragement. If your child has a lot on his plate and wants only to sell the minimum required (if there is one set by the fundraiser's organizer), that is fine. Just make sure he contributes his share. If your child can't wait to get started, sit down and set a goal together so you can help him reach it. Use these tips to spark success.

  1. Have her know the product and really sell it. If your child is selling a variety of items from a catalog, for instance, make sure she knows what's in there so she can answer questions from buyers. Similarly, she should know when the product will be delivered, when she needs to collect the money from the buyer, whether there are any extra costs (such as shipping), if a buyer can purchase in bulk, and any other details that might seal a deal. Let her practice a sales pitch on you!

  2. Don't buy too much yourself. It's certainly okay to contribute by purchasing something from your child, as long as it's something your family can use or enjoy. But be sure you aren't the main contributor to his fundraising efforts.

  3. Walk around the neighborhood with her. If her strategy is to go door-to-door, set aside an afternoon to accompany her. Not only is it imperative for her safety, it will be a breath of fresh air and good exercise. You'll also be able to offer encouragement if she's not having much luck.

  4. Suggest teaming up. Is one of his pals involved in the fundraiser as well? Split a street and compete — each saleskid gets one side of the block. This method encourages healthy competition, and also gives you and another parent the opportunity to split carpooling duty.

  5. Don't do the work for her. It's not your job to actually drum up revenue for your child, so while there are many ways to be supportive, don't make the sales yourself. However...

  6. Ask your relatives, friends, and co-workers if they're interested in the product, then point your child in that direction. If colleagues give you the okay or express desire to buy what your child is selling (this tends to happen often during Girl Scout cookie time!), encourage your child to make phone calls to take orders when it's a convenient time for the potential buyer. Family members shouldn't feel obligated to buy, but let them know that the fundraiser is going on and your child may ask them if they want anything.

  7. Suggest an Internet campaign. Help your child use email to attract business. Be sure to use spell check, and note that the recipients can forward the information on to interested friends or family.

  8. Encourage him to chart progress. He needs to keep track of all the good work he's doing! A simple spreadsheet works, or make a fancier chart and color it in with markers for a visual reminder of what he's

  9. Have her write a thank you. Especially with big orders, advocate the practice of a handwritten "I appreciate your order!" note to send with the product. Not only is it polite, but chances are, the buyer will remember it and be more likely to repeat business next year.

The Wild Banana Orchid and the Ghost Orchid at the Chelsea Flower Show

The Wild Banana Orchid and the Ghost Orchid at the Chelsea Flower Show from 5th to 25th May, 2008

The British will have a chance to see the rarest blooming orchids: the Wild Banana Orchid and the Ghost Orchid. Besides the rarest species – there are displayed many other plants.

After the show the orchids will be displayed at the auction organized by the new on-line charity auction site. The main purpose of this auction is to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation UK and the Cayman Islands’ Blue Iguana Recovery programmes. Though these plants are beyond price but every collector would like to see this exotic plant in his garden. Experts of the British horticultural industry specializing in the orchid domain predict that those who are fond of these Orchids may purchase them – both for 250,000 pounds. Due to the trade law- it is prohibited to take the wild orchids away from the Cayman Islands, so the auction is the only opportunity for those romantic ones to contemplate these rare species for inspiration in their gardens. Also Orchid Society of Great Britain gave a promise to include a free Orchids care training course for the highest bidder to assist him in growing orchids successfully.

The Wild Banana Orchid or Myrmecophila thomsoniana is the National Flower of the Cayman Islands. This plant grows only in Cayman Islands. The name of this orchid type originates from its pseudo bulbs shape-like small yellow or green bananas.

The Ghost Orchid or Dendrophylax fawcettii is native only to Grand Cayman and should not be confused with the Eurasian Ghost Orchid. The Ghost Orchid is a fine plant which has no leaves, just flat grey roots and its beautiful cream- coloured flowers, blooming in May-August.
Due to the fact that the orchid roots mix so well together with the tree, the flower often seems to be floating in the air that is why it is named "Ghost Orchid". Also it secretes a charming fragrance in the evening. It is very, very close to extinction, that it is good to preserve it for the future generations to see it.

Hope everybody who comes will enjoy the show. Welcome to the world greatest flower show.

Important Update:

These exotic and rarest plants are endemic to the Cayman Islands. Due to the obligatory restrictions obliged by the government of the Cayman Islands, now they should be left in the Cayman Islands. Of course, the bidder will possess the flower, but he/she could contemplate it only in the protecting environment natural to the fine plant. High – qualified specialists in horticultural sector of the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park in the Cayman Islands will take care of the orchids and provide them with the required conditions to grow and blossom. The owner of the plant has the right to come and see (with the partner) the best and the rarest wild plants during the holiday.

The winner will stay a week holiday in Grand Cayman at the Marriott Beach Resort on the world-famous Seven Mile Beach. Botanic Park’s Director, Andrew Guthrie invited the bidders to a trip about the Park, moreover they are be given a private tour of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme. So they will have an opportunity to see the world’s greatest lizards back from extinction. The Cayman Islands are famous for its sub aqua sea life too: nice swimming with the snorkel and diving pleasure. The final excitement for our bidders is 100 friendly Caribbean stingrays! They will be swimming in open water of the Caribbean Sea! Do not miss this one on the thrilling wildlife experiences in the world. To add the last feel to the holiday, helicopter driving tour over the Cayman Island is included for those who are fond of adrenalin! Feel free to enjoy the freedom!!!

Cricket: Be bowled over at fundraising festival

A CHARITY cricket festival for six-a-side teams is being held on Sunday, June 8 at Beaufort Rugby Club and teams can book their place now.

Entries are open for any team up for the challenge of the cricket event being held as part of a family fun day that will be raising money for the Shark Biscuits.

The Shark Biscuits are a group of young people from Blaenau Gwent who are travelling to South Africa at the end of June to work with disadvantaged children in Durban.

The group has been working hard all year to raise the funds necessary to ensure the trip goes ahead.

The six-a-side cricket event will begin at 10.30am on Sunday, June 8.

Teams will be forwarded their timetable closer to the day entry to the tournament will cost £30 per team.

As part of the family fun there will be many other attractions - a BBQ, bouncy castle, raffle, stocks and other fun activities.

Local radio station BRFM will be broadcasting live, there will be a licensed bar and all of the proceeds from the day will go towards sending the Shark Biscuits to South Africa.

For further information on the event please contact the organisers at the Ebbw Vale and District Development Trust on 01495 353100.

Friday, 2 May 2008

'Key lessons' in charity collapse

Charity regulators have said there are "key lessons" to be learned from the collapse of a major charity and childcare provider last year.

One Plus provided a range of services to one-parent families.

The report from the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) pointed to an apparent lack of "adequate skills" among board members.

It said no single factor was to blame for the collapse of the multi-million pound business.

However, it said the running of the charity and its response to funding issues were the main reasons for the collapse.

One Plus was one of Scotland's biggest charities with a turnover of £11m in 2005.


One Plus: One parent families (A report from the Scottish Charity Regulator) [116KB]
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But at the end of 2006 it had an overdraft of £2m which it had been told could not be extended.

The charity went into liquidation in January 2007 with debts of £2.27m

The report said while board members were enthusiastic "they did not seem to pay sufficient attention to the business aspects and support structures required to keep expanding services operating effectively."

It said members "did not appear to contain adequate skills and independence of thinking to reflect the needs of a multi-million pound business".

The report also said there appeared to be "no assessment of the range of skills needed in the board and no process to ensure that appointments to the board matched the charity's requirements".

The regulator also pointed to a "lack of timely or full financial information presented to the board."

'Skills inadequate'

Much of the charity's funding was also paid in arrears, presenting it with "substantial cash flow challenges."

The inquiry also found "a consensus of opinion" that the charity "delivered services for less than their full cost" because bosses did not think it politically acceptable to withdraw them.

The regulator also found a lack of timely or full financial information presented to the board.

It said: "The scale, skills and leadership of the finance department seems not to have been adequate for the size of the charity."

One Plus had been due to file its accounts with OSCR a month after it was placed in liquidation and that would have given warning of problems.

The previous Scottish Executive turned down a £2m rescue package for the charity which employed more than 550 people and assisted more than 1,000 families a year across the west of Scotland.

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