CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Editor’s Comment: April 2018

PUBLISHED: 14:27 21 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:27 21 March 2018

Oxfam aid for Somalia is loaded up (c) Alun McDonald/Oxfam

Oxfam aid for Somalia is loaded up (c) Alun McDonald/Oxfam

Alun McDonald/Oxfam

Our editor Mike Lowe explains why we shouldn’t “allow our displeasure at the antics of the big charities to deter us from supporting the local charities which do so much good work.”

I have written before about the manner in which some of our big charities have lost their way: the RSPCA turning itself into some kind of unofficial police force; the National Trust trying to force volunteers to wear ‘Glad to be Gay’ badges; but nothing on the scale of recent revelations of widespread, commonplace sexual abuse, both at home and abroad.

Of course in the current climate, with Augean stables being mucked out all over the place, it’s not just the charitable sector which has come under the spotlight. But when the God Syndrome comes into play – “We’re here to save you” – and First World largesse lands on Third World shores, you can see how food might be exchanged for favours.

The root cause of much of this excess is that our major charities have simply grown too big, too rich, too corporate and too political. Oxfam, for instance, has expanded from being a worthy organisation dedicated to bringing clean water and sustainable food to poor areas into a global entity with flashy offices and six-figure salaries. Last year the charity received donations of £408 million, then immediately spent £26 million of that windfall on fund-raising to bring even more money. It rather puts your pound coins in one of those little envelopes into perspective. In fact, many big charities have so much money that they struggle to spend it before year-end, at which point the next barrowload of dosh is due.

And take this response from one potential donor: “It says here in this letter you sent me that £4 from me could help save a life. So how about your CEO takes £40,000 less salary next year and saves 10,000 lives?” It’s a valid point that shows growing public disenchantment.

But what is vitally important is that we don’t allow our displeasure at the antics of the big boys to deter us from supporting the local charities which do so much good work. The volunteers behind the counter at your local charity shop have nothing to do with misbehaviour and mismanagement at the top and would indeed be dismayed to learn about it. That’s why idiot reporters from a local newspaper were met with bewilderment when they went into their neighbourhood Oxfam shop in Bolton in search of quotes about sexual shenanigans in Haiti.

I can’t list all the local charities here that we should go out of our way to support. I’m bound to miss one out and then be in line for a severe telling off from supporters. But as I’m trying to tidy up my home office at the moment I can tell you that there are lots of excellent books now on sale at the Cotswold Dogs & Cats Home shop in Tetbury, the Longfield shop in Nailsworth and the Sue Ryder shop in Stroud. Enough said.

Of course you may question why, in 2018, we need charities and the immense efforts of volunteers to provide the care and services that should come from central government, but that’s a different argument...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Beast from the East certainly bit hard in parts of the Cotswolds, with villages snowed in and travel almost impossible. Perhaps the most disturbing factor about this “weather event” (as the TV forecasters annoyingly refer to “weather) was the speed with which our food supply chain was interrupted. Even when it was possible to venture out onto the roads, supermarket shelves were frighteningly bare, with no bread, milk, fresh meat or fresh vegetables.

It does make you wonder just how vulnerable we are and how quickly we miss the instant gratification of being able to buy what we want at virtually any time of the day or week.

Order was only restored in many places by the efforts of local farmers who, as well as having to battle dreadful conditions to feed and care for their livestock, also found time to clear the snowbound lanes. I’m sure Cotswold Life readers would like me to pass on our heartfelt thanks.

For more from Mike, follow him on Twitter! @cotslifeeditor

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

One hundred years ago this month the guns fell silent, marking the end of what was to become known as The Great War. Stephen Roberts remembers the impact the war had on Cotswold lives from 1914-1918

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Being a region so steeped in history, there are plenty of locations in the Cotswolds with spooky stories from over the years. From bloody executions, eerie apparitions and headless horsemen, we pick 23 of the most haunted locations throughout the Cotswolds to visit if you dare

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

New bat cams installed at Woodchester Mansion help study protected breeds while also becoming an added attraction for visitors. Jo Barber looks at the work of one of the UK’s foremost bat experts and the mansion’s valued volunteers

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

From an all-boy, all boarding prep school for just 30 pupils, to the quietly trailblazing yet still traditional school it is today – here is a snapshot of Beaudesert over its 110-year history

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Of all the castles in the region, none have seen as much war, romance and royalty as Sudeley over its dramatic 1,000-year history. And with such a colourful and eventful past, it is easy to see why some people believe there could be spirits from bygone eras which still wander the halls and corridors to this day

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Following a record year for ‘visitor giving’ donations via local businesses, applications are invited to fund conservation projects

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

What started as a business ploy by one Cotswold firm has developed into an inspirational garden

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

If a bit of English eccentricity is your thing, spend an enjoyable afternoon exploring the delightful follies of Faringdon

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search