Third sector at large: New age dawns as sector's knights put up their lances

The NCVO and Acevo to hold a truce, the 2011 Budget and the charities minister Nick Hurd are all on our minds this week

- The 'man bites dog' story right now is the rapprochement between the NCVO and the chief executives body Acevo. When the much-reduced funding for strategic partners was announced by the government last week, the NCVO revealed that there was a new memorandum of understanding between the two outfits, including a commitment to work together on events. What, no more punch-ups? Acevo deputy chief Peter Kyle admits there have been ups and downs, but says there's now "an agreement to focus our minds - it doesn't tie us down and it's not dictatorial". Right then, a new dawn is evidently breaking. Maybe the recent knighthoods for both Sir Stuart and Sir Stephen have taken the edge off their famously spiky relationship.

- The sector provided George Osborne with the only intentional joke of his entire Budget speech when he announced the end of the Millennium Gift Aid system, which gave extra benefits for one year only but is still on the statute books. We won't need it for another 989 years, quipped the cheeky Chancellor.

- The entourage of the charities minister, Nick Hurd, last week included not only the usual bag-carriers and hangers-on, but also a young woman who turned out to be a student from York University. She had written to him enquiring about work experience and was still looking slightly surprised by his response - an invitation to come and shadow him while he carried out his ministerial duties for a week. But she appeared to enjoy his visit to a motorcycle repair project in north London. Her presence was an example of the big society in action, no doubt.

- Heading up the bonkers brigade in this year's London Marathon effort will be Lloyd Scott, who in the past has done the 26 miles in a deep-sea diving suit, in a huge iron robot and as Indiana Jones pushing a giant boulder. This year, he'll do it for Action for Kids, face down in a 9ft long costume of Brian the Snail from The Magic Roundabout, at the rate of a mile a day. Dylan, Zebedee and Florence will accompany him on the, er, race. "I'm not just a guy who puts on a silly costume to raise money," Scott told Third Sector in 2008. Well, not often, anyway.

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