Sunday, April 3

Challenges galore with funding

As you might know, I have recently joined Home Start as a trustee and was asked to help out temporarily as a treasurer as well. This organisation with its local chapters helps out families in trouble, whether drugs, lack of jobs, immigration problems, domestic violence, mental disability, you name it. So the charity trains volunteers to go to these families and speaks to them. Helps to put in a plan to remediate the issue, whether getting a job or to get medical assistance or simply escape domestic violence.

Anyway, the entire Home Start organisation is in trouble. This is pretty much almost fully funded by the government, the central government and local council. And the charities, with their fairly high fixed costs, is really susceptible to funding cuts or even delays.

Here’s a good article on a similar charity (SureStart) and how the funding changes are impacting this charity. Quoting large chunks of it.

Daycare Trust research suggests up to 86% of centres are facing budget cuts and that up to 250 may close in 2011. But ministers say there is enough money in the system to retain the centres. They want to refocus the centres to help more disadvantaged families with health visitors picking up some of their early intervention work.Sure Start Children's Centres are being cut in some places because the grant which funds them was cut by 11% in the emergency budget, and again in the comprehensive spending review by almost the same percentage.

Then the government removed the protection from the Sure Start budget. This has left them vulnerable as councils sought to make up losses to their central government grants overall. As local authorities have set out their plans to reduce budgets local campaigns have sprung up from parents anxious about losing the services and help they offer to them and their children.

One of the reasons why I have joined is that I am firmly of the belief that we can switch this idea of funding for families in our neighbourhood from sucking on the government’s tit to getting money from local businesses and other families. We need to make things more efficient and make this sustainable. I am going to speak to the ex treasurer of another charity which has gone bankrupt to find out why they did so. Well, we know why they went bust, they ran out of money from the government and were not able to replace it with private or alternative funding.

by the way, if you know of anybody who wishes to be a trustee and lives in and around Harrow, Ruislip, Hillingdon, and has experience of managing organisations or public sector units, happy to hear from them. In particular, very happy to hear from people who have HR experience of any sort.


In other news:

1. Sustainability news, I am working to introduce a system of getting some actual revenue raising ideas on the table from our chaps. Sustainable cost savings is all right and good but the real challenge is to find something that raises revenues. Now THAT is a good challenge for me : )

2. On the IT4CH front, we are getting more properties across the country to store IT equipment and we are looking to find a deputy for Pat, we need some assistance on a part time basis. I spoke at couple of dinners to raise money for the charity. The first one was on cloud computing and the second was on asset management. Just shows that people are willing to pay me for the nothing that I know about and just regurgitate, lol.

3. We are moving ahead on the books for schools idea in India, still in the formative stage, but the bank has a relationship with a local school where we are contributing some stuff. So introduced couple of people together and seems like its working, we might have a bit of a movement on it.

4. On the academic front, am hoping to engage couple of MBA students and get them working on couple of projects, they get a business project and we get some high quality research out of them

5. Also meeting another university’s academic business coordinator to see what we can do to improve the liaison between the firm and the university.

6. Am hoping to join a corporate sustainability organisation, i need to understand more about this malarkey. Lets see.

7. I am going to go next week to the LSE SIFE unit’s presentations on the national competitions, I hope they win, they are my boys and girls :)

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