Thursday, 21 May 2009

Kidderminster rock legend Plant boosts charity

A PAINTING of Kidderminster’s rock superstar, Robert Plant, has raised £1,500 for Acorns Children's Hospice.

Painted by Sue Verity, of Tamworth and autographed by the rock legend, the portrait has been snapped up by Led Zeppelin fan, Catharine Zelinski, living in Ontario, Canada.

All of the funds from the sale of the painting have been donated to Acorns.

Ms Verity met Robert Plant at a Wolverhampton Wanderers’ game at Molineux,and got the painting signed.

Speaking about her wish for the painting to help Acorns, she said: “I saw Children in Need raising massive sums and I wanted to do something to help our local children’s hospice, so I created the painting of the Led Zeppelin star.

“Wolves helped me get in touch with Robert at the game and I was thrilled when he signed it. I was so delighted that it raised so much and I know that the money is desperately needed to help Acorns and its Fragile Lives appeal.”

Acorns care for children who have life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, supporting them and their families at every stage.

It is currently offering its services to 600 life-limited children and their families living in the West Midlands, with support of three children’s hospices and in the community.

Earlier this year, Acorns was forced to launch a major new appeal to help see it through the current recession and protect its vital services for years to come.

The Acorns Fragile Lives appeal sees supporters doing all they can to help raise funds and awareness.

Nazama Azmat, Acorns’ Black Country community fund-raiser and Led Zeppelin fan, said: “We’re so excited that such a fantastic musician has given his support to help Acorns Children's Hospice.

“The painting has raised £1,500 to support Acorns’ care, helping us to continue making a big difference to the lives of local children and their families.”

To find out more about Acorns and the Fragile Lives appeal, visit

To make an instant donation, call 01564 825000.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Charity sector to benefit from free advertising until July 09

Leading digital advertising recruitment company Only Marketing Jobs has created an area on its website designed specifically for the UK charity sector.

Until the end of June 09 Third Sector organisations can advertise all their fundraising and business development roles for free.

Invitations are open to every charity organisation, whether they have previously advertised with Only Marketing Jobs or not.

Only Marketing Jobs currently attracts more than 700 new jobseeker registrations per week, each looking for a job in marketing. A huge campaign is underway to replicate this number within the not-for-profit sector.

Interested organisations should contact the company on 01732 775665.


Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Charity boost for recession-hit families

The government is giving an extra £3m to charities who offer help to families struggling to cope with the recession.

Couples counselling organisation Relate will receive £1m to provide face-to-face and telephone support to an extra 40,000 people.

Helpline Parentline Plus will receive £150,000 and other parenting groups which offer online support and debt counselling will also get a boost.

Children’s Secretary Ed Balls said some families were under "enormous strain".

He said it was particularly hard "when the main breadwinner loses their job or they are under threat of repossession".

"We won’t repeat the mistakes of the past and leave families to cope alone," Mr Balls said.

"That’s why we are doing all we can to give real help now to families and support them through the downturn."

‘Less heartache’

Relate says that 66% of its centres across the UK have seen an increase in demand due to the recession.

The organisation also says it is seeing more and more people in need of its help, but unable to afford the fees.

"There is no doubt that recession is hitting single parent families hard"
Miranda Yates, Gingerbread

The new funding will help tackle these challenges and to increase the counselling already offered via Sure Start children’s centres.

Claire Tyler, Relate’s chief executive, said: "Tens of thousands of people affected by the recession will be able to access Relate family and relationship counselling at a reduced rate this year.

"This vital investment now will mean families experience less heartache in the future."

Parentline Plus said the money would be used to increase promotion of its 24-hour helpline, which they believe is likely to lead to as many as 2,000 extra calls each month.

Chief executive Jeremy Todd said: "Whilst we work with thousands of families each year, we know that there are many more who are struggling, but don’t know about the free support services we provide.

"Being a parent can be tough at the best of times, but when you are worried about losing your house or job, even the happiest home can become a stressful place."

Gingerbread, which helps single parents, is one of a number of other charities who will receive some of the money.

It too plans to offer more workshop sessions through Sure Start centres to help families cope with separation.

Miranda Yates, from Gingerbread, said: "There is no doubt that recession is hitting single parent families hard.

"Sadly, many of the poorest single parents are struggling to stay financially afloat against a complex backdrop of family break-up and their children’s distress."

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Oxfam suffers as donations fall

• Public donations have fallen by 12% so far this year
• Households buy fewer things and have less to donate

The charity Oxfam today revealed the full impact of the recession on its shops as it announced that donations have slumped by 12% this year.However, sales in its network of 714 shops remain strong – up 5% on last year – as the credit crunch also means demand for donated goods remains high.More than 80% of Oxfam's total income from its shops comes from donations of clothes, books, music, homeware and other goods.

But with fewer people moving house the charity has seen a huge drop in donations of household items. Donations of crockery, china, glass and curtains are down by 7% so far this year, while furniture donations have plummeted by 13%.Clothing donations would have been down by 8% had it not been for an extra 900,000 donations resulting from a collaboration with Marks & Spencer, which incentivises people to take in their unwanted M&S clothing.The fall in donations clearly demonstrates wider trends resulting from the credit crunch: families tighten their belts and buy less, which means they replace less and therefore have less to donate to charity shops.But the 12% fall in donations so far could mean 1.2m fewer items are available to sell this year, the charity warned.

Oxfam's director of trading, David McCullough, said: "The £20m profit made by our shops last year would be enough to fund all of Oxfam's work in DR Congo, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia for a year. But we can't sell fresh air, and [the shops] of course rely on the generosity of the public for their stock."Without continued donations of everything from clothing to cookware, Oxfam shops could not continue to play such a key role in communities across the UK."Among the worst-hit areas for donations are North Yorkshire, north London, Nottinghamshire, Devon and Cornwall. Areas that are faring best include the West Midlands, Tyneside, Teesside and south Wales.Other leading charity shops said they were also feeling the pinch.

A spokeswoman for Cancer Research UK said: "We're in a similar situation. While we know, anecdotally, that footfall has increased, we are in desperate need of stock to sell. We have found that donations to our shops have dropped significantly."The British Heart Foundation, which has 580 shops selling clothing, books, DVDs, CDs, toys and bric-a-brac, and more than 60 BHF furniture and electrical stores, said it had experienced a similar slump in donations.

Rebecca Smithers, Consumer affairs correspondent

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Don’t cut your donations, charities urge businesses

BUSINESS are being urged not to cut donations to charities amid fears that the economic downturn will mean a double blow for those in need.

Charities depending on trusts or foundations with stock market investments are likely to see a sharp fall in income at the same time as people reduce their giving because of the recession, according to chartered accountants Haines Watts.Directors David Green and Justin Crowley head the practice’s Newport not-for-profit team. HW was recently voted joint top in the UK for its charity expertise in a survey by industry magazine Charity Finance.

In Wales, the HW Newport centre advises more than 60 charities and housing associations. Clients include T Hafan, Tenovus, the Archdiocese of Cardiff and Llandaff and Newport Cathedrals.David Green, who has advised charities for 30 years, said many are pinning their hopes on the downturn fostering a new, less selfish approach in society where people become less materialistic and more caring.Mr Green, who has also been treasurer of Newport United Reform Church for 34 years, is one of only three Fellows of the Association of Charities Independent Examiners in Wales.“Research has shown there is indeed a link between fundraising levels and economic conditions, in particular personal income.

“We also know that there is a delayed effect – the biggest impact is likely to be felt by charities when the economy itself could be on the road to recovery,” he said.The 9,000 charities in Wales spent £982m last year. Although the biggest, such as the Arts Council for Wales and National Museum of Wales, receive public funding, the majority are much smaller concerns for whom continued voluntary giving is vital.Mr Green said: “Many trusts which help fund charities have considerable assets invested in the stock market and their portfolios will have fallen in value, reducing their ability to provide support.“There is also the worry that corporate donations will be cut as profits decline, notably in the manufacturing sector, which is always among the most generous. And while many people will continue to support their favourite organisations, they will be less likely to take on new causes.

”In a poll by the Charities Aid Foundation, 41% of “middle- class” people said they will in future place less emphasis on material possessions and pay more attention to social values.Mr Green added: “While nobody welcomes a recession, if it reminds people of the real value of giving and the difference it makes to people’s lives, then at least something good will emerge.”

by Aled Blake, Western Mail

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Premier League prizes help make charity shop raffle a big success

A RAFFLE with some premiership prizes has helped net £750 for Whitby's Oxfam branch.

The charity shop in New Quay Road held two raffles and a tombola last month to celebrate its second birthday. Prizes up for grabs included Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Arsenal and Liverpool FC collectors items including signed shirts and a signed picture of Gunners boss Arsene Wenger as well as a host of prizes donated by local businesses.

A cake stall, toy stall and gift stall also helped swell the funds.
Manageress Margaret Humberstone said: “On the Saturday we sold loads of raffle tickets to football fans as well as others.“The interest in it was phenomenal.

They were all saying how they’d seen the article in the Gazette. “We are all absolutely delighted. All together with the stalls and raffles we raised an astounding £750.“I would like to thank all the local businesses who donated items to us.

“Without them we couldn’t have raised this amount. To the premiership teams, Liverpool, Arsenal, Middlesbrough and Sunderland, a very big thank you for taking the time to donate to our charity. Their items certainly raised our profile. We can’t thank them enough.“I would also like to thank my volunteers who helped as without them it wouldn’t be possible.

”Oxfam staff are now planning a summer fair for Regatta weekend. A full list of prize winners is available in the shop .

Charity Calls For Action After UK Survey Reveals Less Than One In Ten Older People Are Supported By Adult Protection Systems

On average, less than one in ten of older people experiencing elder abuse are actually supported by the systems set up to protect them. That's the stark conclusion of an analysis, by the charity Action on Elder Abuse (AEA), of nearly one hundred Local Authority systems designed to intervene and protect adults at risk of abuse. And, in some areas, the situation is even worse, with less than 2% of estimated elderly victims receiving such support.

"This is an appalling situation," said Gary FitzGerald, Chief Executive of AEA, "made worse by the fact that Government policies fail to treat the protection of adults with the same seriousness as that of children. Or even animals."

The charity is clear that the cause of this problem rests with a Central Government failure to act, and not with the Local Authorities themselves.

"We know that, locally, people are working very hard on adult protection, continued FitzGerald, "but they do not have the resources or the tools to do the job effectively. At the end of January the Department of Health in conjunction with three other Government departments concluded a consultation on the effectiveness of these systems. Everyone - from the police to regulators to Directors of Adult Social Services - told them that legislation is needed to make the systems effective. And yet still they delay. Still they refuse to commit to what they are being told is needed. This is totally unacceptable."

The analysis of referrals made to Adult Protection systems in 91 local authorities showed a huge variance, with the most effective supporting nearly 41% of estimated victims, while others were only responding to 1.5%.

Concluded FitzGerald, "In the last few months we have witnessed serious failings in hospitals (Mid Staffordshire), domiciliary care (Panorama) and the actions of the Nursing and Midwifery Council in striking from the register the whistleblowing nurse Margaret Haywood. And yet the Government remains silent on this issue".

"Granny P (Margaret Panting) hurt as much as Baby P. Stephen Hoskin suffered as much as Victoria Climbie. How can we treat adult protection as a cheap, second class option and dismiss the pain, suffering and death of adults as less important. The Government says it has a zero tolerance of elder abuse. We need that translated into action if we are to ensure that these older people receive the protection they deserve".

Action on Elder Abuse is now writing to all politicians, calling upon them to make this a cross party issue, urging that priority be given to the protection of adults at risk of abuse, and calling for an immediate commitment to adult protection legislation.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Haggis king's really got the stomach for charity bike ride

THE haggis king of the Capital has embarked on one of the toughest cycle endurance events the country has to offer, to raise money for charity.

James Macsween and Peter MacGregor began their journey from Land's End on Saturday and, with legs of 100 miles a day, hope to reach John O'Groats by early next week.

Mr Macsween, well known in the Capital for his haggis manufacturing business, lost his father John to cancer in 2006, while his accomplice Mr MacGregor – who will be undertaking the challenge for the third time – was also affected when his wife Jackie died of the disease the year before.

The two decided to generate cash for Cancer Research UK through the cycle, and have already met their fundraising target of £5000, with more money expected during and after the event.

Mr Macsween, 37, director of the family-run Macsween organisation which recently struck a lucrative deal to supply supermarket chain Morrisons with the Scottish delicacy, said: "We'll need to cover 100 miles each day – so it will be a fairly tough schedule.

"In this year of Homecoming we'll be looking forward to crossing back over the Border and cycling through Scotland.

"We have already raised more than £5000, which is fantastic."

He and Mr MacGregor, who works for British Waterways, began discussing the idea of a fundraising cycle three years ago, and last year intensified talks and agreed this was the year to do it.

"I've never done anything like this before," he added. "I'm quite sporty but this will be the most difficult thing I've done in my life.

"It's the best part of 1000 miles to cycle the length of the UK. We've been breaking it down psychologically, saying to ourselves that it's only five blocks of 20 miles per day.

"I've been blown away by the generosity of people to donate money. It's not just friends and family either, it's people who I've worked with in the past and others too. The original goal was £2500, so to double that has been fantastic."

The two will be supported by another member, friend Alistair Williams, 40, who completes what is being tagged as the Haggis in High Gear team.

Mr MacGregor, 48, added: "Through this trip we hope to commemorate Jackie's and John's lives, and raise money."

Roy launches 2010 calendar for charity

 IT might seem a touch premature, but writer Roy Millar wants to be out of the traps first.

That’s why his 2010 calendar covering rural Worcestershire is in the shops now.

“We have to beat the major publishers,” the Malvern man said.

And since Roy’s calendar is being sold to raise funds for St Richard’s Hospice, no one will begrudge him a flying start.

The calendar has been compiled by the same team that produced his two books – that’s Roy, who supplies the words, and Evesham artist Barbara Butcher, who has painted 12 watercolours of Worcestershire scenes.

Now comes the calendar and most of the illustrations for it have been drawn from photographs taken by Roy. He said: “Having done two books, we wanted to try something different and, seeing as my health isn’t as good as it was, I didn’t fancy the effort of a lot of detailed research, so we came up with the idea of a calendar.

“I decided on St Richard’s Hospice to benefit from my last book because my brother died in a hospice. It made sense that they benefited from the calendar too.”

The calendar is available from Malvern Link Post Office or EKS newsagents in Albert Park Road, Malvern, or by calling Roy on 01684 8892170. Pubs Calendar 2010 costs £5.95.

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