Little at Large

How To Be a Bad Funder, or risk a soaking for Rug Aid

* If since about 1990 you have been furtively nurturing a secret dossier of offences against humanity by funders, which grows fatter by the year, then at last you have a chance to give vent to your frustrations.

The South West Foundation is compiling a How To ... guide with a difference. Called How To Be a Bad Funder, it's based on the real-world experiences of exasperated grant applicants. It's an epic of the bureaucratic, bizarre and incompetent, including tales of funders that send out information about grants after the closing date, funds launched before decisions have been made on the criteria for applications, electronic forms that crash after applicants have spent 45 minutes entering their data, and even helpline staff advising charities to tell lies on their application forms.

But the foundation would still like to hear your horror stories. One senses a second volume coming on.

* The titular progeny of Band Aid have been legion - we even had Curry Aid a few years back. But surpassing even that among the words you'd never expect to be coupled with aid is a new community interest company, Rug Aid.

Sadly, this is not a project to recycle old toupees in the developing world. Its mission is to teach rug making to disadvanted people in Africa, including the partially sighted. It is holding a series of "rug raves" later this month in which members of the public will try to make rugs while blindfolded.

One is taking place aboard a yacht on Ullswater in the Lake District. I hope the local RNLI and St John Ambulance know.

* The Conservatives' efforts to re-name the sector are over, a weary Francis Maude confessed to the Acevo conference last week. The Tories first proposed an Office of Civil Society, then took a shine to "social sector" - but changing all the letterheads is doubtless considered an unforgivable expense in these austere times. So, as Maude put it, we're "stuck with the third sector".

Mathew Little is a freelance writer,


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