First recipients of National Lottery’s Digital Fund
The National Lottery Community Fund has announced the first grants from its new Digital Fund. Eight organisations will receive funding of £3.4m in total to help them grow their digital capabilities, particularly around operations and service delivery. The beneficiaries are Wag and Company, Addaction, The Law Centres Network,Aberlour, National Ugly Mugs, Family Lives, Lancashire Women’s Centre, and Children 1st. Joe Ferns, UK Knowledge and Portfolio Director at The National Lottery Community Fund said: “In a digital society it’s important that charities and community organisations are not only able to adapt to be fit for the future, but can harness the power of digital to identify new opportunities to improve services to support more people. Now, thanks to Na tional L ottery players, these organisations can increase their digital capacity to have a greater impact in communities and support our sector to thrive in the digital age.”
Partnership to boost digital skills
A new partnership called The Catalyst aims to improve charities' use of digital skills and technology in dealing with social and environmental issues. It's been set up by digital social change charity CAST with £1.6m funding from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and it is also backed by the City Bridge Trust, Comic Relief, Big Lottery Community Fund, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Charity Digital chief executive Jonathan Chevallier said he was “particularly conscious of the nearly 90 per cent of charities who have less than £500k of income and the need to deliver support and assistance to them in a way which meets their needs whilst being scalable and believe the Catalyst can play a major role in this.”
Staff at charity affected by domestic abuse given paid leave
London based domestic abuse charity Hestia is to give its staff 10 days paid leave if they personally experience domestic abuse. Employees will get time off to access specialist support and aid recovery from their trauma. Hestia chief executive Patrick Ryan said: “Employers have a unique role to play in breaking the silence around domestic abuse and ensuring victims can access the help and support they need. If an employer believes that none of their staff are victims, they need to think again. Hestia is joining a small but growing number of employers who are making this additional support available for their staff. For too long domestic abuse has been nobody’s business and it is time it becomes everyone’s business.”
Charities are ‘unconvincing' on diversity
The contributors to a new collection of essays and podcasts on diversity say charities efforts around the issue are typically "unconvincing and ineffective." Walking the talk: Putting workplace equality, diversity and inclusion into practice is published by charity think-tank NPC. Nathan Yeowell, Head of Policy at NPC, said: “We hope that by providing a resource for people who need practical help, and an outlet for those with criticisms and frustrations with the sector, we have added something valuable. If we can start having these sometimes-difficult conversations, we can work towards a shared understanding of what needs to be done and agenda for change.”
Crypto has benefits for charities
Charity Digital News takes a look at the "clear benefits" of innovations in blockchain and cryptocurrency for the charity sector, noting that fundraising platforms which accept cryptocurrencies offer opportunities to engage with new sets of donors. UNICEF and the Salvation Army are among charities to have registered onto the platform cryptogivingtuesday.org to accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, Breast Cancer Support and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution accept cryptocurrencies and English Heritage’s involvement in Giftcoin enables it to communicate with donors about how and where their funds are invested.
Little awareness of Fundraising Regulator
Research commissioned by the Fundraising Regulator itself suggests that just 7% of people had heard of the regulator and knew about its role. "This report has demonstrated that awareness significantly drives trust in fundraisers. It also shows that trust correlates with giving behaviour. Therefore awareness-building should be a priority,” the report said, adding "There is the potential there to then create a virtuous circle whereby awareness of the Fundraising Regulator could increase alongside increased trust in fundraisers." The report polled 2,115 adults living in the UK.
Parliamentary group aims to boost philanthropic giving
A new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) is seeking to increase philanthropic giving. The APPG on Philanthropy and Social Investment has launched with the publication of a report, titled Philanthropy in the UK Today, that says the public and political narrative around philanthropy in the UK is “ambivalent at best.” The report says: “One of the APPG’s key roles is to address this ambivalence, by providing accurate information, a forum to debate these important concerns and undertaking a work programme that seeks to actively reshape the positive capacities of private philanthropy and social investment.”
Charity probed over alleged funding of terrorism
A Christian charity is being investigated by police amid concerns that it financed a terrorist organisation when it handed over a ransom fee to free hostages. Accounts for the year to July 2016 show that the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (Acero) charity paid £147,689 to “Iraq Hostages” during the year in which its overall income was £1.9m. “This matter is being investigated by officers from the National Terrorism Financial Investigation Unit, which is part of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command (NTFIU) to determine if terrorist financing offences have been committed,” a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said.
Use of child spies to break gangs deemed lawful
Allowing children to be used as informants in criminal investigations is lawful, the High Court has ruled. Charity Just for Kids Law brought the case against the Home Office over the use of children by police and other bodies in England and Wales. The campaign group said the safeguards in place were inadequate and the practice breached human rights, but the High Court said there was a "system of oversight" in place. The Home Office had argued that undercover under-18s helped prevent and prosecute problems such as gang violence and dealing drugs.
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Deaf children face technology ‘postcode lottery’
The National Deaf Children's Society has warned that more than 11,000 deaf children across England are missing out on life-changing technology due to a "postcode lottery" of funding. Its research found that only 109 out of 152 councils fund radio aids for under-fours, although this figure has increased from 77 in 2016. Children with hearing loss may be given the £1,000 devices at school, but the aids are less commonly funded for home use - so families can use them in the car and outdoors, or when the children are doing homework or other activities. Local Government Association spokesperson Anntoinette Bramble said the charity is “wrong to suggest that councils have a duty to supply radio aids. However, as many as possible do so because they know that deafness can make life incredibly difficult for some children who experience it.”
Children are getting sunburnt at school
There are calls for a country-wide policy on sun-safety in schools after claims children are getting sunburnt. There is no blanket guidance to keep children protected and councils in Wales say it is up to individual schools. Unions advise teachers not to apply sun cream to children, and some schools do not allow pupils to bring their own in because of allergy concerns. But parents said one application of sun cream before school is not enough. The charity Tenovus Cancer Care says one blistering sunburn as a child can double the risk of skin cancer in later life, and called for the Government to make education on staying safe in the sun to be compulsory in schools.
High rent eating up a third of household income
Low-income families can’t afford to privately rent a typical home in two-thirds of the UK without relying on housing benefit, according to Shelter. The charity is calling on the government to build 3.1m more social homes after it found that there are 218 council areas where local families earning a low wage would be forced to spend over a third of their salary on rent. “Families in lower-paid jobs are having their bank balances bled dry by expensive private rents,” said the housing charity's chief, Polly Neate. The charity’s findings come at the same time Belvoir's rental index reveals that rents are rising by 1.5% year-on-year in Q1 of 2019.
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