Author Archives: Charity-News

Phone Co-op members vote for Transfer of Engagements to Midcounties Co-operative

Members of The Phone Co-op, the UK’s only telecoms co-operative, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of their Board’s recommendation for a transfer of engagements to The Midcounties Co-operative.

Phone Co-op logo91% of members attending The Phone        Co-op’s Special General Meeting in Sheffield on 28 April voted for a merger with Midcounties. 223 votes were cast by delegates attending in person and online, with 202 voting in favour of the motion and 17 against.

The transfer of engagements was confirmed at a second Special General Meeting in Droitwich on 12 May, where it was passed by 75 votes out of 76. The transfer is due to take place on          1 June.

Jane Watts, chair of The Phone Co-op said: “I am delighted that The Phone Co-op’s members have voted to join Midcounties Co-operative. This move will make sure that we have a              co-operative provider of telecoms, as it becomes ever more central to our lives, and extends the offer we can make to our members.

“Our co-operative and ethical values will continue to be central to the service and our staff will contribute their expertise and shared values as we move forward.”

Ben Reid, CEO of Midcounties Co-operative, welcomed the result of the vote which he described as, “…an opportunity to bring together two strong businesses [The Phone Co-op and Co-op Energy, part of Midcounties Co-operative] to create a co-operative utility provider.”

In a separate motion, members attending the Sheffield AGM of The Phone Co-op voted by a simple majority to approve The Phone Co-op’s Strategy for 2018-2022. 136 members voted for the motion, with 50 voting against and 37 abstaining.

The second Special General Meeting was held at Chateau Impney Hotel and Exhibition Centre in Droitwich, Worcestershire. The meeting followed the Midcounties Co-operative AGM which was being held at the same venue earlier in the day.

Charity concert all set to help reopen the Montgomery Canal

Organisers of a charity concert and music festival in Welshpool this summer have announced more details about the event.

Music for the Monty logo

Music for the Monty will be taking place in Welshpool during the Welshpool Transport Festival (Saturday 23 – Sunday 24 June 2018) and more than a dozen musicians and bands have volunteered to busk at sites around Welshpool to raise funds for the Restore the Montgomery Canal appeal.

The evening concert features Welshpool and Shropshire bands, One Crow Sorrow, I am Sam Acoustic and the Shropshire Boatmen, who are donating their talents for free.

All proceeds from ticket sales will be going towards the appeal to reconnect the Montgomery Canal between Powys and Shropshire.

Said David Aylwin of Music for the Monty: “The Montgomery Canal is one of the UK’s most beautiful canals and over the past few years great strides have been made in reopening it to boats. But now we want to help raise awareness – and funds – so that the canal is reopened through to Welshpool and Newtown which will provide a significant tourist boost to the area.

“We are really pleased to be working with Welshpool Transport Festival to provide music around the town, especially in the Canal Wharf area, which is on the Montgomery Canal.”

Tickets for the evening concert priced at £8 are available online at www.musicforthemonty.co.uk.

20,000 young people become Dementia Friends

The Scout Association and Alzheimer’s Society have teamed up to empower young people to help those living with dementia.

20,000 ScoScouts become Dementia Friendsuts have become Dementia Friends, joining the biggest ever social movement to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about dementia. As part of the ‘A Million Hands’ partnership’ between Alzheimer’s Society and The Scout Association, which started in October 2015, Scouts in all four corners of the UK have taken action on dementia.

The partnership will culminate in the Big Moment, where Scouts up and down the UK will unite to deliver a Dementia Friends Information Session in their community throughout April – May 2018, educating and empowering people to take action to tackle stigma around the condition.

Claire Jenkins, Head of Community Engagement at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Someone develops dementia every three minutes, but too many face it alone. There is a lot of fear and stigma still surrounding dementia. The goal of this project with The Scout Association is to ensure that young people are spreading awareness in their communities so that society can better understand the condition – today and in the future.

“Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends helps ensure that people know the issues and challenges that people with dementia face, and can take small actions to help them live a life they love in their community. We’ve found that by working with the Scouts Association, parents feel more comfortable talking about the condition, and young people are empowered to do what they can to help.”

Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer. It affects 850,000 people in the UK, with this number set to reach one million by 2021. But too many people with dementia are isolated and face the condition alone.

Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends helps to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding around dementia that means many people with the condition experience loneliness and social exclusion.

Claire Bruce, Beaver Scout Leader, said: “I’ve really enjoyed seeing the interaction between young people and people with dementia. With an ageing population, this an issue that is important and which is only going to become more relevant. Being a Dementia Friend is something our Scouts chose, and as active citizens, want to know more about.”

There are over 2.4 million Dementia Friends across England and Wales growing the dementia movement and taking action in their communities. But Alzheimer’s Society argues that more people are needed, from every age group, to end the stigma surrounding dementia. Young people and The Scout Association play a crucial role in ensuring that people with dementia feel included, supported and empowered in their communities.

Become a Dementia Friend by attending a Session or watching the video at Dementiafriends.org.uk. Find out more about the ‘A Million Hands’ project at Amillionhands.org.uk.

Ethos public relations supports charity communications

Ethos public relations is committed to supporting charities and was delighted to sponsor and manage the design and print of a flyer and poster for a new music festival.

Music for the Monty posterMusic for the Monty takes place in June as part of Welshpool Transport Festival. One of the directors of Ethos public relations has been involved in helping to organise the event and Ethos public relations took responsibility for preparing an A4 poster and an A6 flyer to promote it. One of the Ethos team designed the publicity materials and the logo was kindly donated by designer Dave Clucas.

Public relations is important for all types of organisation, but for charities and not-for-profits it is especially important for reaching new and existing supporters. Ethos public relations is committed to helping charities publicise their activities and has worked with many local and national charities in its 20 year history.

This website, which is managed by Ethos public relations, contains lots of useful information to help charities promote their organisation, including advice on social media, video production and photography. There are also some ‘top tips’ on PR for charities.

Shaun Fisher, one of the directors of Ethos public relations, said: “We are passionate about working with charities, community groups and voluntary organisations to get their messages out to the wider public. This isn’t just because it is our business, but because we have a longstanding commitment to raising awareness of the activities and achievements of the charitable sector.”

You can find out more about the work that Ethos public relations does to promote charity events here and to contact Ethos public relations click here.

Music for the Monty takes place on 23 and 24 June 2018 and features an evening concert at Welshpool Town Hall on Saturday 23 June, as well as free music at venues across Welshpool over the weekend. The event has been organised to raise funds for the restoration on the Montgomery Canal which stretches from Shropshire to mid-Wales.

Nine out of ten members rate London Capital Credit Union

Eight in ten credit union members nationally are satisfied with the services offered, while in north London, London Capital Credit Union sees nine out of ten members rating its financial services as ‘very high’.

LCCU logo

The largest ever survey of credit union customers, published by Financial Inclusion Centre, found that 81% of members across the country were extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their credit union, while 84% said they would recommend a friend or family member. This compares to a recent Which? survey showing that mainstream banks’ average overall customer satisfaction score was only 68%.

Islington-based London Capital Credit Union is one of the largest and fastest growing credit unions in the capital, with over 15,000 members and outstanding lending of nearly £12 million. As a not-for-profit co-operative, London Capital Credit Union provides savings and low cost loans to people living, working or studying in Barnet, Camden, City of London, Hackney, Haringey and Islington.

Financial Inclusion Centre research also demonstrated just how important the broad range of financial services being delivered by these not-for-profit financial providers are, with the majority of respondents using their credit union as an affordable and fair source of borrowing – giving them an invaluable alternative to high-cost credit such as payday loans, rent-to-own firms and door-step lenders.

Credit unions work hard to help their members understand financial issues and members are shown to score well compared to the general population on a range of financial capability measures, saying they feel they have their finances under control and are confident in dealing with money matters.

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union, said: “The findings of the largest ever credit union customer satisfaction survey back up what we see at London Capital Credit Union and show that most members are extremely satisfied with the services provided.

“With the current pressures on household finances, credit unions such as ours provide an essential lifeline for many, offering affordable loans in time of need and supporting people to develop a saving habit. At London Capital Credit Union, we believe it is important to help people make the most of their finances and this survey shows the hugely positive contribution that credit unions make to our communities.”

Mick McAteer, Co-Director of Financial Inclusion Centre, added: “These results are very encouraging and go to show that credit unions are highly regarded by those that use them, with higher satisfaction rates than mainstream banks.”

 A copy of the report, ‘An Insight into Credit Union Membership’, can be found here.

Prostate Cancer UK calls on UK to step up to cancer challenge

For the first time, more men are dying from prostate cancer each year than women are from breast cancer, making the male disease the third biggest cancer killer in the UK. Prostate Cancer UK is urging the public to ‘March for Men’ this summer to help curb the trend.

Prostate Cancer UKFigures released by Prostate Cancer UK reveal that 11,819 men now die from prostate cancer every year in the UK, compared to 11,442 women dying from breast cancer. It means the male-only disease is now the third most common cancer to die from, after lung and bowel cancer.

Since 1999, the number of women dying from breast cancer has been steadily decreasing, while prostate cancer deaths are still on the rise. During that time, breast cancer has benefited from a screening programme, significant investments in research and more than double the number of published studies compared to ones for prostate cancer.

Despite the alarming figures, the prospects for men with prostate cancer are actually better than ever, with men diagnosed today two-and-a-half times more likely to live for 10 years or more than if they were diagnosed in 1990. Yet due mainly to an increasing and ageing population, the number of men dying from the disease is growing.

Prostate Cancer UK Chief Executive, Angela Culhane, said: “It’s incredibly encouraging to see the tremendous progress that has been made in breast cancer over recent years. But with half the investment and half the research, it’s not surprising that progress in prostate cancer is lagging behind.

“The good news is that many of these developments could be applied to prostate cancer and we’re confident that with the right funding, we can dramatically reduce deaths within the next decade.”

Prostate Cancer UK believes that around £120 million of research needs to be funded over the next eight years to reverse the trend and achieve their 10-year goal to halve the number of expected prostate cancer deaths by 2026. And the charity is asking the public to help raise the vital funds needed by signing up for one of their March for Men walks this summer.

“Plans to create an accurate test fit for use as part of a nationwide prostate cancer screening programme, as well as developing new treatments for advanced prostate cancer are already well underway. But to achieve these aims, we need to increase our investment in research.

“We’re calling on the nation to sign up to a March for Men this summer to help raise the funds we desperately need to stop prostate cancer being a killer.”

Local businesses invited to support Music for the Monty

Music for the Monty will be taking place in Welshpool during the Welshpool Transport Festival (Saturday 23 – Sunday 24 June 2018) with the aim of drawing attention to the campaign to reopen the Montgomery Canal.

Music for the Monty logoMusic for the Monty will see musicians busking at a number of venues around the town to add a musical twist to the town’s Transport Festival and provide additional entertainment for visitors. In addition, there will be an evening concert in Welshpool Town Hall.

All proceeds from the busking and concert tickets will be passed on to the official charities raising funds to reopen the Montgomery Canal through to the Welsh border.

Already a dozen musicians and bands have volunteered to take part in Music for the Monty and the line-up for the evening performance is currently being put together.

The organisers are now offering businesses the opportunity to become sponsors of Music for the Monty.

Said David Aylwin of Music for the Monty: “We are really pleased with the number of musicians who have come forward to help support our event and there is still room for more.”

“We are also keen to work with local businesses who are willing to support us in our objectives of promoting local talent and restoring the Montgomery Canal. In return, we are offering free tickets to the evening concert, the opportunity to publicise your business to festival visitors and, of course, a sense of pride in helping us reopen this historic canal, which could connect Welshpool to the rest of the canal network and provide a tourism boost to the town’s economy and the surrounding areas.”

To find out more about Music for the Monty, please visit www.musicforthemonty.co.uk.

Montgomery Canal Triathlon now open for entries

This year’s Montgomery Canal Triathlon takes place on Saturday 19 May and the organisers are looking for entrants.

Triathlon poster

The triathlon follows the route of the picturesque Montgomery Canal through Powys and Shropshire and involves a 35 mile course split into three sections: cycle 17 miles from Newtown to Pool Quay, walk 11 miles from Pool Quay to Morton and canoe 7 miles from Morton to the Weston Arm, Lower Frankton. Entrants can choose to attempt all three sections, or just one or two, and everyone who completes a section will receive a commemorative medallion made from local slate.

The triathlon is organised by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal and is supported by the Canal & River Trust in aid of the restoration of the Montgomery Canal and is set to be a great day out for families with children as well as experienced triathletes.   The organisers aim to ensure it is safe and enjoyable for everyone by separating ‘Hares’ from ‘Tortoises’ and allowing faster cyclists to set off first at the start.

The cycling section is along cycleway-standard towpath. The walking section is generally flat but some lengths are unsuitable for wheelchairs. Canoes will have to be carried round four locks although volunteers will be available to help. Firstaiders will be on duty throughout the event and light refreshments and WCs will be available at the end of each section.

The restoration of the Montgomery Canal is supported by many groups and is seen as a strategic part of increasing tourism in the Oswestry, Welshpool, Newtown and Montgomeryshire areas. Canal tourism is important to large parts of the country, with increasing interest in restoring and celebrating the UK’s canal heritage, and the triathlon is just one of the ways that the canal can benefit people and communities positively.

The entry closing date is Saturday 5 May 2018. To find out more and to download an application form go to www.montgomerycanal.me.uk/fmcevents2018.html.

Childcare problems cost mums £3.4 million each day

The childcare system is costing mothers in England £3.4 million a day because it prevents them from working, according to new analysis from Save the Children. That’s £1.2 billion every year.

Save the Children logo

The charity estimates there are around 89,000 mothers of children under five who would like to get back into work but say that childcare is the main barrier to doing so.

Steven McIntosh, Director of UK Poverty Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children said: “Mothers describe a childcare system that feels stacked against them. They tell us it’s nightmare to navigate with barriers to work at every turn. The result is an astounding loss in earnings, hitting families already battling to make ends meet. The financial pressure and stress that creates at home is never good for parents or their children. It’s time to make childcare work for families.”

Research shows childcare issues are the number one barrier to work for parents with young children. Despite recent reforms, Save the Children says that parents are still facing sky-high childcare bills and struggling with a complicated system – with almost half of parents saying they have no idea or are confused about what support they should get. The charity says that they are left unable to access the childcare they need to work, which can tip families into hardship.

Bianca, 36, is a Mum from East London with two boys aged three and seven. After working full time for ten years, childcare issues forced her to give up her job as an education team leader in a college.

Bianca said: “ I absolutely loved my job and I could see myself progressing. It was the cost of childcare that made me give it up, because if I’d had to pay for my younger son to be in nursery full-time that would have been a massive chunk of my salary. We made sure we lived within our means but of course you lose out on some things.

“There are a lot of people who have a lot to give to the economy, but childcare is such a massive barrier. The only way you can jump over that barrier is if you’re willing to shell out a lot of money and have little left for three or four years. We did make that choice to have children, but we shouldn’t be penalised for it, and that’s how it feels at the moment.”

Research shows that the average take home pay for a mum working full time is just over £20,000 and almost £45,000 for a couple both working full time. Even taking into account free childcare hours and government subsidies, the cost of childcare for two children can still be more than £8,000 a year. That is 39% of the mother’s take home pay – twice as much as she pays in tax. Parents say that childcare bills are still too high, with many claiming it costs more than their mortgage or rent, or that it doesn’t make financial sense to go back to work.

To address the problems of cost, complexity and accessibility in the childcare system which are preventing parents from working, Save the Children is calling on new government ministers responsible for childcare to urgently set out the next steps to delivering a childcare system in England that is high quality, affordable, easy to use and fits around families’ lives.

Research reveals postcode lottery of care

Responses to a Freedom of Information request to local authorities have revealed a worrying postcode lottery of care, Royal London has revealed.

Royal London logoThe insurance company contacted 150 local authorities, of which 125 responded. The replies show a huge variation in both the amount councils will pay towards care home costs, and the extent to which people have to ‘haggle’ with their local authority to get a good deal.  Elderly people who enter care in a ‘crisis’ situation and do not have family members to advocate on their behalf could lose out when it comes to negotiating care fee packages, according to Royal London.

The research identified three different approaches taken by local authorities to funding care:

  • Authorities which have a fixed ceiling for care home funding which they will not exceed, regardless of actual care costs
  • Authorities which have a published ceiling but which regularly exceed it on a case-by-case basis
  • Authorities which say they have no set fee limit but negotiate each placement on a case by case basis

Commenting on the findings, Dominic Carter, Alzheimer’s Society Senior Policy Officer, said:  “The unacceptable postcode lottery of care that people face nationwide has been exacerbated by a lamentable lack of funding from Government. Local authorities have been left with precious little resource to provide the care people with dementia need.

“Because people with dementia have such complex needs, places in care homes are on average seven to ten per cent more expensive – but the rates local authorities pay hardly ever recognise this additional cost. On top of this, the report today highlights how much local authority funding differs across the country, heaping even more financial pressure on families in unlucky postcodes.

“The Government says it is committed to reforming social care, but we need to see enough funding to provide good quality, affordable care for everyone with dementia, no matter where they live.”

Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London, added: “We have uncovered a disturbing patchwork of support for people needing residential care, which varies hugely depending on where you live.  The most worrying variation is the extent to which residents are expected to haggle with the council in some parts of the country.

“Whilst responding to individual needs and circumstances sounds like a good thing, it is very likely that older people who have vocal family members to support them will be able to strike a better deal. Local authorities must be very careful to ensure that they do not take advantage of the poor bargaining power of vulnerable elderly people, leading them to accept the cheapest care provision rather than the most suitable”.