2004 PREVIEW: WISHES AND RESOLUTIONS - A look ahead to what the New Year might bring the sector

Sir Nicholas Young, chief executive, the British Red Cross

We have lost several Red Cross/Red Crescent colleagues this year in conflict situations, most recently in the car-bomb attack in Baghdad.

My regret is that we haven't done more to promote and enhance our neutrality and the protective value of our emblem, particularly in these uncertain times.

By the end of 2004, I want everyone to know a lot more about the Red Cross and our work here in the UK, as well as overseas. We are UEFA's partner for the Euro 2004 football competition so that should kick us off to a great start.

Jackie Ballard, director-general, RSPCA

Many difficult and painful, albeit necessary, changes have been made at the RSPCA in 2003. While not forgetting the impact of those changes, I believe that the new structure of the society provides a sound financial and administrative base on which to move forward.

This is what I would like to see in 2004: A Charities Bill with animal welfare as a charitable objective in its own right. The publication of a draft animal welfare bill which will give people a duty of care to their animals and enable the RSPCA to take action before suffering takes place. A growing awareness of the links between cruelty to animals and cruelty to people, and the need, therefore, for intolerance of all acts of cruelty and abuse. And finally, finally, finally, a ban on the cruel activity of hunting wild mammals with dogs.

Other things I would like to see include Bonfire Night celebrated this year with quieter fireworks, and that consumers demand that all farm animals are reared to RSPCA standards.

I would also like to see an end to our financial difficulties, and 2004 to be a year of consolidation so that we can then start expanding on a sustainable basis to enable us to make even more progress in 2005. That the RSPCA expands its working partnerships with other animal welfare organisations.

That the voluntary sector as a whole works together more effectively and that we are able to convince our donors and the Government that every penny we raise is spent effectively in pursuit of our objectives.

Lastly, that we only see positive stories about the RSPCA in Third Sector throughout 2004!

Elisabeth Hoodless, executive director, CSV

We want our Open Doors scheme, which launched last January, to be in all parts of the public sector. This will allow volunteers' skills, energy and love to assist the NHS, schools, courts and airports.

At the moment, the scheme runs in half of the UK's schools, 300 GP surgeries - with many more to come - and a few courts, but the Home Office is keen to see many more.

We are about to launch a volunteer-led health service programme at Edinburgh Airport, which has been trialled all over the US.

We also hope to provide 'buddies' for patients in NHS mental health trusts in two more major UK cities, to add to the one we currently run in Newcastle.

I'm proud to say that you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between volunteers and patients at the present Friday night social.

The scheme allows volunteers to befriend people who are mentally ill and often friendless and isolated. This helps them to build up their social networks in the community to improve their lives upon leaving hospital.

Louise Richards chief executive, War on Want

War on Want's profile increased last year, but in 2004, I want to ensure that we retain our sense of history and traditional closeness to the Labour movement, while reaching out to minority ethnic and disadvantaged groups, with whom we share common goals.

To that end, we have had preliminary discussions to work with the International Lesbian and Gay Association, Cemvo-EMF and to link with trade union Unison's black members.

We will also be devising ways to attract more students and young members to our traditional supporter base.

I want us to get back to our heyday of the early 1980s, when people joined the Labour party and then went on to join War on Want. I want to push the fact that we are a membership organisation, which hasn't been promoted enough. We need to make members feel they are part of something special that makes a sustainable difference to people's lives.

We need to put the George Galloway years behind us. Even though he hasn't been our chief executive since the late 1980s, the link is still often brought up in the press. We can do this by ensuring we have something significant to say, by building up our brand and sending out core messages.

This time next year I'd like us to be a force to be reckoned with, to be mentioned in the same breath as Oxfam, and not Galloway.

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