Third Sector at Large: The freebies that make an impression

Choc and awe: the freebies that make an impression

If you've never quite grasped what a CIC is, you're in good company - or rather, company with an eye for the main chance.

A Cornwall artist, Richard Austin, failed conspicuously in a recent episode of BBC2's Dragons' Den to convey how profits from his sculpting kit would be filtered into his community interest company. The dragons sent him packing, then had a wrangle about the rights and wrongs of it until Duncan Bannatyne rasped that he'd had enough and strode out. There must be a message in this.

- The civil society minister, Nick Hurd, began a speech last week by saying: "The last time I was at a social enterprise event I was given a free chocolate bar and a packet of condoms. One gift lasted considerably longer than the other." What can he mean?

- Is Hurd - long political pedigree, old Etonian - under threat in the big society pecking order from Greg Clark - son of Middlesbrough milkman, product of comprehensive school? Clark, the mere decentralisation minister at Communities and Local Government, was described unequivocally in The Guardian last week as "the minister charged with turning big society into reality". Huh. That's not what Hurd's people say at the Cabinet Office.

- Bad news for the latter department about its unofficial community page on Facebook. Serial 'liker' Martina Tesser (yes, that's an 'e'), who used to like it among 769 other things, doesn't like it any more. But the good news is she's been replaced by two new fans: Barbara Phillips, who also likes bread, and Mario Grijalba, who likes "blowing the paper off your straw to (sic) the person next to you" and "emptiness of the mind".

- Look here, you over-50s, if you're going to do the Twitter thing, you've got to stick at it. Kevin Curley, boss of local umbrella outfit Navca, is an example to us all with more than 400 tweets. Stephen Bubb of chief executives body Acevo, who is rarely lost for words, has managed a paltry seven. But Sir Stuart Etherington of the NCVO has to date managed one - "Hello, Twitter" - on 12 March, 2009.

- We've got the acronyms Nimby and Neet, but don't we need one for "some of the most vulnerable people in our society"? 'Sotmvpios' doesn't quite work as a word, but you could use SMVP: just a thought.

Mathew Little is away. Contact Third Sector at thirdsector@haymarket.com

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