Plummer at large

Need a contract? Your charity could maintain a plane or install a boiler

* Funding Central, the new website that lists 4,000 funding opportunities for voluntary organisations, does indeed contain a staggering breadth of grants and contracts - it's just a shame that some are of doubtful relevance to the sector.

A quick search on the site reveals the chance to bid to maintain aircraft on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, install a wood pellet boiler in Yorkshire and carry out the A66 Crackenthorpe realignment.

The site experienced a slight hiccup before it went live - the Cabinet Office, which is paying the NCVO £1.6m to run it, was a bit miffed to discover its largesse had not been recognised in the form of a logo. Happily, it's there now.

* Angela Smith made a joke about her Essex shoes when she was appointed third sector minister this month. But the Basildon and East Thurrock MP has traded her fashionable footwear for Velcro hospital pumps after a foot operation.

Smith hobbled on crutches from the Commons to the Lords last week to attend the 120th anniversary celebrations of London anti-poverty charity Cambridge House - then she bravely hobbled back to cast her vote for the next Speaker.

* Amid the furore over MPs' expenses, one claim slipped by largely unnoticed. Lembit Opik, the Lib Dems' spokesman on anything that will get him noticed, submitted a £19.99 receipt for the Mother of All Wigs, a fake Afro get-up that makes the late Jimi Hendrix's efforts look restrained.

He also claimed for a more modest Filmstar wig costing £9.99 under "sundry costs incurred while supporting a charitable event". Sadly, the charity isn't named.

* Congratulations to the 27,000 cyclists who completed the 54-mile London to Brighton bike ride fundraiser for the British Heart Foundation this month. But surprisingly the official refreshment stops lining the route were filled with burger vans.

What next - organised fag breaks?

John Plummer is a freelance writer. Mathew Little is away,

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