Little at Large: Every little helps, but the public has expensive taste

Sometimes it's the small things that reveal who your supporters really are.

Mathew Little
Mathew Little

The Jesuit Refugee Service is promoting a new scheme in London that encourages the public to buy the £35 supermarket vouchers given to refused asylum seekers by the Government. That way asylum seekers can spend the £35 where they want and make it go much further. The vouchers come in three varieties: Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda. Strangely, the charity can't shift the Asda vouchers. If only this callous Government would introduce Waitrose vouchers for asylum seekers, they'd be queuing round the block.

- The Charity Commission warned private schools last week that they couldn't be exclusive clubs for the rich, and then reassured them that charitable status would be taken away only in the rarest of circumstances. We await guidance from the mandarins of Harmsworth House on what fee-charging schools will have to do to pass the public benefit test. Has anyone considered the wild idea of asking the public, for whose benefit charities exist, what they think? Or can't they be trusted to know what's good for them?

- If you are new to the voluntary sector, you might be under the misapprehension that the language used by charities is English. This is only half true. Prolonged employment in the sector leads to increasing mastery of a new language, referred to by scientists as 'volsecspeak'. For example, whereas authors write books and journalists write for magazines and newspapers, charities publish toolkits. These are thought to be extremely helpful to other people working in things called front-line organisations, who may also spend a lot of time at the coalface. More extracts next week from the Volsec Dictionary, published by Orwell Enterprises.

- Mathew Little is a freelance writer: mathew.little@haymarket.com

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus