Little at Large: Let's make our funding streams a bit more literary

The people who think up names of sector funding streams don't often have poetry in their souls.

Mathew Little
Mathew Little

They have given us the Community Assets Fund, the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Payroll Giving Grants programme and the Community Development Finance Initiative, to name but a few. At best, there are modest alliterative flourishes, as in Grassroots Grants. But Kate Housden of Navca is blazing a trail for a more cultured approach: she is planning a Pilot in Penzance on community empowerment. How about a core funding programme called Rents and Sustainability or the Electric Public-Benefit Acid Test?

- A supermarket once sold a bag of peanuts with the instructions "open bag, eat peanuts". Now the art of stating the bleedin' obvious is the province of government. According to Department of Communities and Local Government guidance for funders, "analysis of data from the Citizenship Survey shows cohesion is strongest when people from different backgrounds interact with each other". Really? And where would we be without Hilary Benn, who visited a Blue Cross animal hospital last month to "highlight the importance of caring for pets"?

- What exactly is a social enterprise? One sector figure was discussing this recently with a senior civil servant in the Department of Health, when suddenly the mandarin lost patience. "We actually don't need to be having this conversation because as far as the Government is concerned they don't care if the service is being provided by the private or voluntary sector," he (or she) explained. "So if we call it a social enterprise, a business or a voluntary organisation, it's of no consequence." And you thought you were special.

- Mathew Little is a freelance writer

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