News from across the third sector #NeverMoreNeeded
Charity probed over covid “plague protection kit”
A fresh inquiry has been launched into a church which was found to be selling a coronavirus "plague protection kit". England’s Charity Commission is investigating The Kingdom Church in Camberwell, south London. Bishop Climate Wiseman, the head of the church, claimed that the £91 small bottle of oil and piece of red yarn would protect people against covid-19. Media reports about his coronavirus claims sparked an investigation by the charity watchdog in April. As a result, the link to buy the kits was removed. The Charity Commission has now launched another inquiry into the church, which is registered as a charity, over concerns about its management and finances. The watchdog said it had looked at the charity's records and was "concerned" about the accuracy of the information provided about its income and expenditure.
Unicef’s income rose pre-covid
Unicef UK’s income was up by 2.0% in 2019 compared to the year prior, according to its accounts for the year ending 31 December 2019. In 2019, Unicef UK received a total of £101.4m, compared to £99.4m in 2018. Of this, £65m was available for programmes to benefit children. This included £34.8m for specific overseas programmes or countries chosen by donors, £21.6m for Unicef core programmes and £8.1m for Unicef UK’s advocacy and programmes in the UK. UK corporate partners donated more than £14.9m. The charity calculates that 69% of its gross income was available for programmes after fundraising, sales and administration costs, and that over the past five years, it has spent an average of 30p to raise the next pound, excluding fundraising development funds. Over the same five-year period, governance costs amounted to 1% of total income. However, like most charities, Unicef UK is facing a challenging financial situation this year. The accounts state: “Key income streams that are likely to be threatened in 2020 include face-to-face fundraising, income from events, particularly Soccer Aid for Unicef, which has been postponed until later in the year, and income directly associated with programme delivery, UK and internationally, that may be disrupted due to the coronavirus emergency.”
Army of mask distributors recognised
Volunteers have been recognised for their efforts to provide affordable face coverings. More than 2,500 masks have been made as part of a community project in East Renfrewshire, thanks to a partnership between charity Include Me 2 Club and local artist Douglas Yates. The group, based in Barrhead, supplied thousands of face coverings for just 50p each. Their work has now been highlighted by East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald, who tabled an Early Day Motion in Westminster. Oswald said: “It is so important for people to wear face masks and it shouldn’t be out of people’s reach. I thought it was so interesting that this was a joint community approach to get the project going – it is so lovely to see all the community groups giving such a great response to Covid-19, working with each other to make things possible. When I heard about the initiative, I thought, that is quite ground-breaking. There is a whole host of people working together to get these face masks underway – that is something that should be marked and recognised.” Paul McIlvenny, chair of Include Me 2 Club, added: “Many people across our communities have found it difficult to access face masks - not everyone is online to buy them and there is also the barrier of the commercial masks that costs over £5.”
Brave fundraiser raises cash for Parkinson’s UK
A woman has raised more than £7,000 for Parkinson's UK, all while battling the disease herself. Fiona Middleton, 56, has completed an amazing journey via bike so far, taking her from her home in the West End to Inveraray. She will complete the journey by travelling to Inverbeg, where she and her husband got engaged 25 years ago, before finishing further north in the Isle of Skye. Fiona said, “The cycle is really brilliant motivation for me to do the exercise I need to manage my health, and it has given me something to focus on when I was shielding at home and unable to go out or meet people face to face. Overall, I’m feeling fine. I’m really enjoying thinking about the beautiful places on my journey, and remembering holidays and other happy times there." Fiona was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease 12 years ago, one day before her 45th birthday, while also being diagnosed with melanoma for which she is currently undergoing immunotherapy. She said: "When you’re living with Parkinson’s and melanoma, it is easy to sit and feel sorry for yourself, and forget that you still have a lot to offer, so this is really helping me to stay positive."
Tenants associations come into their own
Residents in two Renfrewshire communities have earned huge praise from Linstone Housing for helping others. The hosuing association praised Corseford Tenants and Residents Association and Spateston Tenants and Residents Association after winning Scottish Government funding to help their communities weather the storm of coronavirus. The money has been put to good use in a range of ways – all with one important goal: to make life easier for local people who, like so many, struggled during the health emergency. Both organisations applied to Linstone Housing for funding as a result of its role as a community anchor - tasked by the Scottish Government with distributing the money. Organisations across Renfrewshire have benefited from the cash with many of them applying for the funding. Spateston received £3,932 and Corseford was granted £5,000. In Spateston, an emergency foodbank service was set up with a hardship fund to help people who, for one reason or another, are struggling financially. Money was set aside for play and leisure equipment for youngsters along with stationery to help with home schooling. In Corseford, the association provided emergency food supplies with emergency energy and phone top-ups for people struggling to pay bills. A household appliance emergency fund was created to replace such things as a broken washing machine along with games and activities for residents plus garden growing kits.