Charles Kenyon's Country Diary: Stitch-in-time approach is what we need

Too many grant-making bodies won't look at work that isn't pre-planned, pre-surveyed and pre-legalised

Charles Kenyon
Charles Kenyon

The phrase "hand to mouth" could have been invented for small charities. There are always too many demands and too few resources. Our beneficiaries always come first, so maintenance of property often gets left behind, leading to bigger bills than perhaps were first envisaged.

There are many generous grant-making bodies to tap into, but an annoying number will not entertain work that isn’t pre-planned, pre-surveyed, pre-legalised and put out to tender first. The leak through the roof is better sorted immediately, but if you want it financed just leave the roof to fall in and then fundraise. It would be glorious if grant-making bodies trusted the "stitch-in-time" approach instead of referring to financial guidelines, governing documents, risk reduction and indemnity.

A café in the town provides a social eating space, especially welcoming people who live on the streets. The food is prepared from ingredients that would otherwise go to waste. The building is owned by the local authority and the future is very uncertain. Although there is agreement that the little charity does great work, there are centrally imposed financial rules to follow that might not allow councillors to give the support needed to the warm, friendly environment that touches so many social challenges, including hunger, loneliness, food waste and public health. I’m sure this story is not unique: the stitch in time isn’t really the building; it’s the people.

Charles Kenyon lives near Market Rasen,

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