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Blog: The Difference Creative English Can Make
By Martin Smith
There is one thing that strikes me most when I visit the Creative English hubs. It doesn’t matter whether the hub is in Bradford or Bristol or Luton or Lancashire – the thing is just how much fun the learners have. The learners and the volunteers always talk about the fun and laughter of each session. And it’s through this fun that the learners can learn and gain confidence. I hear stories of learners using their new-found confidence in many situations – at school with their children, or at the Doctors explaining what the issue is. Learners feel empowered to use the language they have, to get out and get involved. Some are now volunteers themselves, helping to run Creative English classes. They arrive early to set up, and stay after to tidy away. They’ll often say that they look forward to this time each week, and “what will we do when it finishes!” Another product of this laughing together is friendship. Learners tell me that they have met a neighbour at Creative English, and now they meet outside of class to chat, go shopping and drink tea together. The community begins to talk. Neighbours become friends. Some classes I…
Blog: What Faith Organisations Do Best
By Sue Griffin
There’s a building I know in Dagenham. It belongs to a faith-based organisation, who’ve had it for a number of years. And it’s a brilliant example of why faith centres are the best places to connect with people. Faith centres are always about people. And the motivating force is compassion. Without compassion, a faith centre is just a building that runs programmes. With compassion, you become solution-focused. You are prepared to sacrifice in order that others get the support they need. Which means you are always outward-looking, seeking to engage with people. And you have an ‘inclusion’ mentality – no-one is the odd man out. So this building in Dagenham started life in the middle of a residential area. It was empty and jaded from its past glories (long since forgotten!). But it passed into the hands of the faith organisation and hasn’t looked back! The faith organisation saw it as a means to an end – to be able to show compassion, bring peace and support all who have needs. Faith organisations are flexible, relevant, and think outside the box! This faith-based charity started by using the building to teach women construction trades! And so, many ladies learned the…
Minister launches Local Sustainability Fund
Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson has announced the launch of the anticipated Local Sustainability Fund, with an initial investment of £20m. The fund will provide grants to around 250 organisations working in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector over two years. Big Lottery Fund will deliver the LSF. The fund will provide grants that will enable recipients to implement organisational changes and access professional advice. “The key principles behind the fund are simple: put smaller voluntary organisations in a position to change,” Wilson said in a speech. “Allowing them to find the time, support and critical challenge, to start to make the necessary changes to deliver a sustainable service to their users.” Read the rest of this article at Charity Times.
Three days paid volunteering leave for employees to go ahead, says minister for civil society
The government will go ahead with proposals for employees to receive three days of volunteering leave, the minister for civil society said yesterday in his first keynote speech of the new Parliament. Prime Minister David Cameron made a pledge in the last Parliament that a Conservative government would offer up to 15 million workers three days’ paid leave for volunteering. He proposed that every public sector worker and anyone working in a company with at least 250 employees would be entitled to the volunteering leave. But there had been some doubts as to whether it would go ahead after no measures to introduce it were included in the Queen's Speech. Speaking yesterday, Wilson said: “We put at the heart of our manifesto a commitment to three days of paid volunteering leave for employees in large organisations. Many companies do this already but we’ll make this a reality for more people – a new entitlement for millions which will unleash a new wave of skills, capability and passion to help others.” Read the rest of this article at Civil Society.
Umbrella bodies link up to produce new fundraising guidance
Sector bodies are coming together to create guidance on managing and governing fundraising in light of recent public concerns about some fundraising practices. The guidance aims to help trustees and chief executives strike the right balance in fundraising. It is intended that it will complement the Charity Commission’s guidance, CC20 – Charities and fundraising. It will be produced by a group with representatives from NCVO, ACEVO, the Institute of Fundraising, and Charity Finance Group, with input from the Charity Commission. IoF director of policy and communications Ceri Edwards said providing the right guidance to trustees and chairs to help them understand the responsibilities of fundraisers and the challenges facing fundraising teams is critical. Read the rest of this article at Charity Times.