Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Slumdog makers apologise to charity

The makers of Slumdog Millionaire have said that there was no intention to link a real charity to a scene in the film in which a boy has his eyes gouged out.

The Hope Foundation, which works with street children in India, received numerous calls and emails about the scene, in which a minibus with "Hope Orphanage" painted on it collects youngsters from the Mumbai slums.

One of the children has his eyes put out later in the film by unscrupulous criminals so he can make more money begging.

The foundation issued a joint statement with Celador Films, which made Slumdog, saying there was "no connection whatsoever" between the real and fictitious charities.

Paul Smith, the chairman of Celador films, said there was no intention to imply a connection.

The Hope Foundation is an international organisation based in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) which cares for street children in India by providing residential homes, education and healthcare.

The incident comes just four days before Slumdog goes to the Oscars, where it has 10 nominations, including best picture and best director for Danny Boyle.

Boyle has previously defended the film against claims that child actors from the slums who starred in the film were not paid fairly for their work.

"The actors were paid very well. We have not released any figures - either what they were paid or what they will receive when they complete their education because it would make them vulnerable to certain elements, because they are quite large sums of money," he said earlier this month.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Charity shop in plea for security guard after raid

A CHARITY shop is appealing for a volunteer security guard after thieves stole £600 worth of stock during a break-in.
The theft from the Cancer Research UK shop on Nicolson Street is thought to have taken place in the early hours of Saturday morning, with the culprits even making off with the charity's donation box.

The shop has been targeted by thieves on at least five occasions since it opened almost 20 years ago and deals with shoplifters on a daily basis.

Elaine Robison, 48, who manages the 18 Cancer Research UK shops in the Edinburgh area, is now appealing for someone to act as a guard, as well as donations to help cover the cost of installing an burglar alarm in the shop.

Miss Robison, of Loanhead, was given the bad news by the store's manager, Sam Watterson, who made the discovery when she went to open the shop on Saturday morning.

Miss Robison said: "I felt absolutely sick. I think it's a very sad state of affairs when people have to reduce themselves to doing this.

"The staff and volunteers are astounded, they just can't believe it. We have had staff in tears. We are all devastated."

Hundreds of pounds worth of new and donated goods were stolen in the raid, including antique cameras and jewellery, which were taken from the window display.

The thieves hand-picked the higher quality clothes from the rails and even made off with the clock from the wall and a bottle of perfume from the staff toilet.

The shop's CD player and fragrance oils and room sprays, created especially for Cancer Research UK, were also stolen.

All the computer games, DVDs and CDs on the media stand were taken too.

Fortunately, no money is kept in the cash register overnight.

Miss Robison believes the thieves entered the shop by breaking the lock on the front door, before making their escape via the back exit.

The shop was closed on Saturday morning as police investigated and staff worked to tidy the store.

Miss Robison said the loss of sales for the morning amounted to around £500.

A police spokesman said enquiries into the matter were ongoing.

He added: "Police were called at around 9.10am on Saturday morning to investigate an alleged housebreaking at a charity shop on Nicolson Street.

"We are now asking for anyone who was in the area on Friday night and noticed anything suspicious to contact police immediately."

Charity gala event at Burton Agnes Hall

KIND-hearted traders in the Driffield area are proving the credit crunch does not have to get in the way of charity.
Local traders and businesses have been generously pledging donations and promises for an auction to be held as part of a St Valentine's Charity Gala evening at Burton Agnes Hall on Saturday.

The black-tie event has a top promise of dinner for four with owner of the hall Simon Cunliffe-Lister in the dining room at the hall, complete with butler service and champagne.

Among the many items promised so far is a rugby ball signed and donated by Hull FC Rugby League Team and also a Hull City Tigers shirt signed by the team.

Proceeds from the event will go to two charities, the National Starlight Foundation, which grants a wish to severely and terminally ill children, and the local Naomi Smith Appeal.

Naomi Smith, of Nafferton underwent a liver transplant almost 15 years ago and is gearing up to represent the UK in the World Transplant Games in Australia in August.

As a member of the UK Team Naomi, of Nafferton has to raise £8,000 towards her costs and it is hoped the gala will go some way to boosting her fundraising.

Tickets for the event cost £35, including a buffet and mulled wine, and are available by calling (01262) 420062 or (01262) 490324.

From Hutton Cranswick Today

Weight loss fundraising for Weston hospice

WORKERS at a Somerset garden centre have signed up to take part in a sponsored slim to lose more than one stone and help raise money for a Weston charity.

Dan Williams, Peter Burks, Dolly El-Mahdi, Ali Stokes, Mark Horler and Tracey Williams from Sanders GardenWorld in Brent Knoll, will be shedding pounds in aid of Weston Hospicecare.

Dan said: “When we heard about the hospice's sponsored slim we thought it was a great opportunity for a team from the garden centre to take part and get fitter and healthier for 2009.

“We want to lose a combined weight of more than seven stone and raise as much money as possible for the hospice. I hope this will encourage other businesses in the area to register teams to take part too.”

Penny Beare, fundraising and communications manager at Weston Hospicecare, said: “We are thrilled a team from Sanders GardenWorld has signed up for the sponsored slim. It is a great idea to register as a team as every participant can encourage each other.

“It's a good way to raise funds as many people may have decided to try and lose weight in the new year, and being sponsored will hopefully incentivise them to reach their goal.

In celebration of the charity's twentieth anniversary, a Gordon Ramsey-trained chef will hold a cookery demonstration at the Thatched Cottage in Weston on March 5.

Tickets are £49.95 from the fundraising department on 01934-423921 or from Weston Hospicecare's headquarters at Jackson-Barstow House, 28 Thornbury Road in Uphill, Weston.

By Burnham And Highbridge Weekly News

Brave girl is taking leap for charity

AN East Kilbride teenager who overcame leukaemia plans to launch herself 100 feet from a crane in an attempt to raise awareness and much-needed funds for The Anthony Nolan Trust.

The prospect of taking part in the charity’s zip-slide fundraiser on Sunday, April 5, does not bother 16-year-old Calderglen High School pupil Amanda Cameron in the slightest.

For she has already had to overcome much greater challenges in her young life.

The fifth year pupil, who lives in Greenhills, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2006.

And, following an intense course of chemotherapy, she was given the all-clear in October, last year.

Although Amanda did not need a bone marrow transplant, she is still keen to highlight the work of The Anthony Nolan Trust, which has saved over 5000 people from leukaemia since its launch in 1974.

The charity was instrumental in finding a donor for young East Kilbride girl Katie Currie, who is still fighting for her health.

Every 21 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with leukaemia or a related illness and for many people a bone marrow transplant is the only cure.

It costs the charity £125 to fully tissue-type each new donor and place them onto the register and the money raised at the zip-slide will enable it to maintain and expand the bone marrow register in Scotland.

Amanda said: “Although I’m a lot better now, it’s important to remember there are thousands of others out there who are not as fortunate as I am and are desperately waiting for a bone marrow transplant.

“If the money we raise puts another potential life-saver on the bone marrow register, then the zip-slide will have been worth it.

“Three of my friends have agreed to do it with me and although we’re slightly nervous, we’re all really excited and hopefully more people will sign-up and join us on the day.”

Anne Hughes, regional fundraiser for The Anthony Nolan Trust, added: “Although we have had a good response already, there are still places available for the zip-slide, and we would like to sign up as many as 150 people over the next few weeks.

“Previous zip-slides have been very successful and we’re hoping people in East Kilbride will want to join in on what should be a great day out.”

The event, the first of its kind to be held in East Kilbride, will take place between 10am and 5pm at Calderglen Country Park.

A crane will take groups of five daredevils at a time to a height of more than 100 feet, where the ‘adrenaline junkies’ will be hooked onto a wire before zipping to the ground over 700 feet away.

To take part, all participants have to do is pay a £10 entry fee and raise £100 sponsorship. The event is open to anyone over the age of 11 years and it is hoped the event will help The Anthony Nolan Trust raise somewhere in the region of £15,000.

For more information contact The Anthony Nolan Trust on 01506 655361 or e-mail Alternatively you can sign-up online at

ON A HIGH: teenager Amanda Cameron will be among the daredevils taking on the zip-slide challenge for charity.

By Lynda Nicol

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Charity shops left with empty racks as donations fall

Charity shops are being left desperately short of stock as donations fall due to the deepening recession.
As more and more people choose to save their money by not buying new clothes, so they are continuing to wear what in normal times would be their cast-offs.

At the same time they are turning to charity shops to pick up a bargain, meaning clothing racks and shelves are becoming sparse.

David Moir, head of policy at the Association of Charity Shops, told The Daily Telegraph the problem of falling donations was "widespread".

"We are hearing very similar stories from across the country," he said.

He described the reason for the drop in donations as a case of "sheer economics".

"People are buying fewer new goods. It's as simple as that."

British charity shops turned over £120 million last year, he added, with almost two-thirds of that coming from clothing.

A ton of clothing can sell in a shop for £2,500 to £4,000, he added, producing a profit of £500 to £800.

Charities are now concerned their bottom lines could be affected by the downturn as supplies run dry, with many pleading for people to donate.

Ken Blair, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, which has over 570 shops, said household collections had dropped by up to a quarter in the last year. All charity shops were suffering, he said.

"We are running desperately short of stock," he added.

Part of the problem was the increased demand for textiles from Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, which has caused the price per ton to double from £400 to £800 since 2006.

Consequently more and more private companies have begun canvassing for used clothes from people's homes.

This has forced charities to spend more on obtaining decent supplies, Mr Blair said.

"The more we can get the public to support well-known charities at the moment the better," he commented.

Sales were "touch and go", he said, with the availability of stock being the key factor.

Shops with enough were doing well as people flocked to them to save money, he said. But he added that the issue was troubling the board.

"So far sales have been okay but I would not like to speculate what's going to happen," he said.

Cancer Research UK is urging people to "Detox your wardrobe", enlisting the help of television presenter Lorraine Kelly to get the message home.

She said: "We all know that times are tough, but this is an easy way to help raise money for charity."

Simon Ledsham, the charity's trading director, said: "Our shops are struggling to keep up with demand and are desperate for people to bring in good quality items that can be resold to raise money for the charity's important work."

Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern England, added: "While sales are up in our shops, donations of clothing, books and bric-a-brac have fallen by a fifth."

Friday, 6 February 2009

Charity event sparkles with brilliance… and diamonds

Belfast dentist, Lucy Jaffa, is hosting a multi-sports race called Diamond Quest Ireland for her charity, the African Schools Trust. With thousands of pounds worth of diamonds up for grabs, drop your drills and grab your trainers for one of the most exciting races of the year.

This May, hundreds of men and women from across Ireland and the UK are expected to hit the Irish Carlingford and Mourne Mountains. The race, which is being organised by Adventure Ireland and Causeway Coast Adventure Racing, on behalf of the African Schools Trust charity, will aim to raise funds for a feeding programme to nourish 1,000 teachers and school children in the slums of Nairobi for the following year.

Competitors will start off from Carlingford in County Louth with a hill run through the beautiful Cooley Mountains and along a forest path, followed by a short kayak section from Omeath to Warrenpoint, and finish with a bike ride through the heart of the Mournes, sweeping down to the sea at Newcastle in County Down.

But it's not just the first across the finish line who will receive prizes – there are four diamonds to be won, as charity patron Lucy Jaffa explains: ‘To give everyone the opportunity to win one of our diamonds, we'll be allocating one for those in the top 50, another for the next 100 and a third diamond for the rest of the competitors. Plus there'll also be an extra diamond to be won by any competitor or guest at the party that night in O'Hare's bar in Newcastle, where we'll sneak a diamond into a glass of champagne! It means you don't have to be the fittest to win a diamond, and you'll still have fun taking part.'

Everest climber and dentist Hannah Shields, who is supporting the event, said: ‘Taking part in a race like this will give competitors such a fantastic buzz of adrenaline, as well as the great feeling of helping so many needy children in Africa.'

Also helping to promote the race and all set to take part are Lucy Evangelista, former Miss UK, and Ulster rugby player Matt McCullough.

For those wishing to enter the race, which takes place on Saturday 9 May 2009, the fee is £80.00 (which includes T-shirt, post race party entry and refreshments). For further details, contact Lucy on +44 (0) 7734 083533 or Ivan on +44 (0) 7866 416550, or visit the website at

U.K. Animal Charities Argue About Fund Raising

In what might be described as allegations of donor poaching, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has accused its English counterpart of unfairly fund raising in Scotland.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which operates in England and Wales, denies the charge.

But the Scottish organization said the Royal animal-welfare group has advertised itself on Scottish radio and at Scottish supermarkets.In response, the group has started an ad campaign aimed at humbling its peer.

“The Scottish SPCA today challenges the RSPCA to stop stealing food from the mouths of Scotland’s defenseless animals and tell the truth to the Scottish public,” the group said in a statement on its Web site.

The animal charity said that 70 percent of the Scottish public believes the RSPCA helps animals in Scotland. “We are therefore calling for the RSPCA to be explicitly clear in its advertising that it does not rescue or rehome animals in Scotland. This could be by explicitly stating where it works or even describing itself as the ‘RSPCA for England and Wales,’” the statement said.

According to The Times, a newspaper in London, the RSPCA said it did not deliberately market itself in Scotland.

“Every piece of printed literature, television advertising, and Internet banner advertising always features the wording ‘The RSPCA is a charity registered in England and Wales.’ We always make every effort to exclude advertising messages reaching Scottish consumers. All Scottish donors, who contact us via RSPCA fund-raising campaigns, are directed to the Scottish SPCA so that they can donate to them if they so wish,” the RSPCA said in a statement, reports the newspaper.

A newspaper in Scotland, The Herald, this week investigated the RSPCA’s claims and reports that the English group accepted about $2-million a year from Scottish donors.

By The Ian Wilhelm from

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