06/06/13 – FaithAction Gives Thanks to Volunteers

This week we bring you news of a Commons Select Committee's report on the Charities Act, the deserving recipient of a Big Society Award, as well as resources including a website to help you find volunteers, and several items related to young people.


Daniel Singleton will be in Leeds on the afternoon of Thursday the 20th of June. If you would like to meet with Daniel, please contact Hannah Walker at [email protected]. We would love to have an opportunity to meet with you.


This week is Volunteers' Week, a time to say Thank You to the millions of volunteers who regularly contribute to society, and to recognise the way that organisations celebrate the work of volunteers across the UK.

Next week will be Men's Health Week, which aims to tackle the stigma of men's mental health, to encourage men to seek mental help, and to promote mental wellbeing.




Report finds majority of UK Sikhs 'proud of Britain'

Launched at a parliamentary event on Tuesday 4th June, the British Sikh Report aims to identify the needs and wants of the Sikh population of the United Kingdom. The report draws on answers to a survey compiled by a range of Sikh professionals and academics in order to create an insight into the Sikh community of Britain. Amongst the findings comes the fact that, despite 75% of Sikhs having been the victims of racism, over 95% of responses stated that they were proud to be born or live in Britain.

The full report can be found here.


MPs’ Report raises issues with Charities Act

The Public Administration Select Committee has published its report on the Charities Act 2006, calling the ‘for public benefit’ clause of the act “critically flawed”. The act had removed the assumption that a charitable activity was always ‘for public benefit’, and tasked the Charity Commission with creating guidance on what is classed as public benefit. However, as the act did not define what public benefit actually meant, the Committee said the Charity Commission was left in ‘an impossible position’, one which led to legal battles regarding the charitable status of independent schools and religious groups.

The report criticizes the Charity Commission’s interpretation of public benefit, but also states that it is should not be the role of the Commission or the courts to decide the definition of public benefit, but the role of Parliament.

The report also considers face-to-face fundraising, or ‘chugging’, and the lack of public confidence in the self-regulation of the issue, with Lord Hodgson telling the Committee that the voluntary sector had been ‘damaged’ by public reaction to chugging.

The report also calls for a requirement that charities publish how much money they spend on campaigning and political activities as part of their annual report.

The full report and more information can be found here.


Benefit cap roll-out to take place in two phases

Inside Housing reports that the Department for Work and Pensions has written to local authorities explaining that the introduction of the benefits cap will occur in two phases. The first phase will include 335 councils – those where there should be 275 or fewer households affected by the change – and will begin on July 15. The second phase containing the remaining 40 councils will begin on August 12. The DWP stated that the introduction of the cap will be complete by the end of September.


Big Society Award for the Cinnamon Network

Charity Times reports that a network of churches, social enterprises and charities has been given a Big Society Award by Prime Minister David Cameron. The Cinnamon Network helps build partnerships between churches and the voluntary sector, and provides ‘micro-grants’ of up to £2,000 to help fund community and social action projects.




Getting involved in Healthwatch

Regional Voices has received funding from the Department of Health’s Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund to support the voluntary and community sector’s influence on health and wellbeing boards.

In each of the nine English regions, Regional Voices' component networks will be developing networks to support voluntary sector influence on health and wellbeing boards. Networks will work to support effective engagement with health and wellbeing boards and look at different routes to influence and share good practice nationally. Events, e-bulletins and online networking will be developed; progress in engagement between the voluntary sector and health and wellbeing boards will be tracked through surveys. Resources and training will be developed (in partnership with FaithAction), in response to requests from participants.

If you'd like to be involved in this work,contact your local Regional Network to hear about developments and help shape the support network in your region.

If you have any queries, please contact Jo Whaley of the national team. if you have any queries.


Big Advice Day

18 June, 10am-5pm; Royal Horticultural Halls, London

The FSI (Foundation for Social Improvement) are holding a Big Advice Day as part of Small Charities Week 2013. The event will feature numerous advisors from large organisations, and attendees will be able to receive one-to-one advice from top professionals on a range of topics.

For more information, click here.


The Changing Face of Infrastructure

3 July, 10am-5pm; The British Library, London

As part of their BIG Assist programme, NCVO are holding a free one-day conference will bring together infrastructure organisations and funders, statutory bodies and policy makers to allow them to meet, connect, and share. Featuring presentations, case studies and hands-on workshops, this conference will help infrastructure organisations to adapt and change.

For more information, click here.


Men’s Health Week

10 – 16 June

Led by the Men’s Health Forum, Men’s Health Week aims to tackle the stigma surrounding men’s mental health, promoting wellbeing and allowing men to seek help. The Week will feature hundreds of events, run by public health groups, professionals and organisations, including sport events and health checks.

For more information in Men’s Health Week and to take part, please visit the Men’s Health Forum.



The Centre for Social Inclusion have published a response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s inquiry into the role of JobCentre Plus in the new welfare system.


The Government has launched Opening Doors, a campaign, featuring ex-Dragon’s Den judge James Caan, to give young people from all backgrounds equal opportunities when finding work.


The Charities Aid Foundation has released some of the findings from the Growing Giving Parliamentary Inquiry, looking at the use of educational establishments in promoting charity in young people.


The Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association have launched a volunteer recruitment website, allowing non-profit organisations to advertise for volunteers for free.


Shelter and the National Homelessness Advice Service have teamed up to create a website that offers advice and guidance for anyone that works with young people that are homeless or are in danger of becoming so.


NCB have released a guide to getting children and young people involved with local Healthwatch, based on findings from LINks and Healthwatch pathfinders.


Dame Mary Marsh has published the findings of her review into skills and leadership in the voluntary sector.