I am aware that I may be encroaching on an area that is sensitive, and I am certainly stepping outside of the subject areas and tone normally associated with my blog postings. I apologise for this in advance but please read on as I believe this to be important.
By way of background, my support for charities was damaged over 20 years ago when my company was commissioned to produce a promotional marketing model for a well-known, high profile charitable organisation. This household name charity had many altruistic, well-motivated people working tirelessly selling second hand items for next to nothing on high streets up and down the country. They all worked selflessly and passionately with the very best of intentions believing they were ‘making a difference’. I delivered the model to the charities well-appointed headquarters in Chelsea and found the staff car park littered with exceptionally expensive cars. I was greeted by a general atmosphere of aloofness, arrogance, and entitlement – the contrast was distasteful.
Since then, I have developed a rather cynical attitude to the established charitable organisations as I now question how much is spent on overheads and how much actually reaches the intended beneficiaries.
As a result, my charitable contributions have become more focussed on homeless individuals on the street, the cherished charities of friends who perform heroics to raise money and the RNLI of course.
Recently, in Northney Marina, I noticed a ‘hubbub ‘ ashore and spoke to someone clearly involved with what was going on. I discovered that it was an organisation called ‘Sailing Therapy’ who were having an introductory day for care home managers. This organisation operates a wheelchair friendly boat, ‘Rebecca Anne’ to offer access to the water for people with disabilities and learning difficulties. They operate in Chichester Harbour and it enables the participants to view the wildlife, stimulate their senses and just ‘connect’ with the water.
I personally really subscribe to the merits of being on, in and close to the water and there is something in this connection which I feel is subliminally therapeutic. I can really understand the benefit to physical and mental wellbeing that waterborne activity can enhance.
Sailing Therapy is a ‘Community Interest Company’ which makes it a government backed institution but is less regulated than a designated Charity and therefore much easier to run on a small local basis. Regulatory details of Community Interest Companies (C.I.C.) can be found on the website www.cicregulator.gov.uk
There are no unnecessary overheads with this organisation with the funds being utilised exclusively for equipment and running costs. It is wholly staffed by volunteers, so they do a great job for the community, and I think they really deserve support.
They desperately need two things to continue to provide and improve the provision of their valuable work.
They need volunteers to help with the crewing of ‘Rebecca Anne’, preferably, but not necessarily, with RYA qualifications but with a DBS clearance although I understand this can be obtained relatively quickly.
The other requirement is, rather predictably, funding. The charity operates on a shoestring and they currently have to launch and recover ‘Rebecca Anne’ for every trip as they cannot afford a Marina Berth which would, of course, be infinitely more convenient.
If you are inclined to consider supporting this very worthy cause, donations can be made here:-
You can also check out their web site at:-
Hello Nick! Remember me? Your fellow ferry travel partner from the wonderful(!) dock of Calais! I am currently on a train back to Virginia having taken my son Sam to university in Louisiana! Hope this message finds you well.
Great to hear from you Natalie !
The frustrating delays in that austere Calais terminal were ameliorated (in my opinion…) by our meeting and yarning.
Your advice to upgrade to Club on the ferry was inspired and what a surprise to be the only two people in the lounge – result !
Out of interest, the other two ladies on our bus from the ferry were on the same train up to London. One of them was Italian, the other German. They were both charming, interesting characters and devout Anglophiles! The Italian lady, Barbara, has even subscribed to the Blog – voluntarily !
PS. I have just subscribed you whether you like it or not !!!
We are grateful for any support we receive, either financial or physical. Thank you Nick for your help.
Small scale charities have a tendency to do good. I too am not to sure about the larger ones. The RNLI are a clear exception and I still belong despite my local crew saying that they and the parent organisation are pretty much awash with cash.
One of my clients had some small scale dealings with the British Deaf Association who not only have some controversial views on cochlear implants but also reacted to my clients kind offer of providing his services for free by signing the zero cost contract for a days course and then demanding that he additionally paid £560 for the hire of a sign language interpreter. When he balked at the cost and enquired whether they couldn’t find a volunteer, they threatened to sue him for discrimination!
I know of a situation where a cancer charity was left some money in a will and then went after it very aggressively forcing the sale of property to secure their legacy. Let that be a lesson!
Excellent blog Nick. Yes I too are very suspicious of the huge overheads associated with many charities and the self entitled attitude of some charity managers who, as already noted, always drive the latest prestige motor vehicle. Says it all really.
I like the idea!
Similar story about the Red Cross. We sent a young engineer to Kosovo years ago to supervise construction of several small camps for the British Army.
He came back thoroughly disaffected, saying that he would never, ever, make any donations to the Red Cross.
Apparently all the Red Cross personnel did was drive around in the latest Range Rovers, doing mathematician’s ball, i.e. 4/5 x 5/8 x f**k all!