It was very interesting to listen to BBC Woman’s Hour this morning and the discussion about children’s charities in the UK.
Apparently, there are 60,000 children’s charities operating and if I have understood correctly, 90% of them are small charities with no salaried staff and an income of less then 10,000 a year.
It opens up the debate on a couple of issues.
So why on earth do we need 60% charities all working for children in one way or another?
It makes common sense at first thought that we should all be working together, like us they have the best interest of children at the forefront of everything they do, or we would hope so.
Have we perhaps become to ‘precious’ about our individual charities?
It is astounding to me, and I have experienced this myself, how protective and competitive various charities are, of course they are all fighting tooth and nail to get as much funding as possible to allow them to continue. In some cases they can use what can only be described as bullying tactics.
I have always believed that once a charity has salaried staff it does change, it is almost inevitable.
Staff who have absolutely no experience of the issue they are meant to be working on, can not possibly fully empathise with their service users.
Due to lack of funds, helplines are not covered, callers wait for sometimes over week for a call back, sometimes never receiving that call. Anyone who has ever rung a helpline knows that at that moment in time they needed someone to talk to, then, not a week later.
If charities receive central government funding, do they have to tow the party line?
I will leave others to answer that one.
Being a registered charity means you are accountable to your trustees and to The Charity Commission.
Many large charities produce huge glossy reports at the end of the year, with every statistic you can possibly think of, but for the smaller ones, it is not always possible to do that.
How do you quantify that you have made a difference to someones life, or that your charity has been a life saver?
This discussion partly came about as a result of the sudden closure of Kids Company, the point made at the end of the programmes interview was about the young people who were receiving enormous help and support from individual members of that particular charity.
Those individual young people didn’t care about the politics or other issues within the charity, they trusted that one individual that was there for them at the point of need, just there, being non-judgemental someone they could trust.
Who are they trusting now?