Little at Large

Golf for kids in Marrakech? Now that's 'innovative'

Mathew Little
Mathew Little

 * Some words become so ubiquitous they are drained of meaning altogether. Take 'innovative'. No ministerial visit to a charity is complete without the habitual heaping of praise on "this exciting and innovative initiative". The effect is so anaesthetising that no one actually troubles to inquire whether the project actually is innovative - or even remotely exciting.

But the tide might be turning. Peter Wanless, chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, is a sceptic when it comes to innovativitis.

"The word has been bandied around far too much," he says. "We need to use the term sparingly and be clear about what it means." For those seeking funds from the BLF, the message is that you don't have to be a third sector Einstein - tried-and-tested schemes are just as likely to get grants as the thing no one had ever thought of before.

One can only hope for a similar conversion in government. It would be strangely refreshing if, in 2010, the third sector minister began a speech with the words: "It gives me great pleasure to see for myself the value of this boring, run-of-the-mill project."

 * nfpSynergy has suggested a candidate for the weirdest application yet for charity registration. The sector consultancy was asked for advice by a group that wants to set up a charity to help poor children in Marrakech, Morocco, to play golf.

Apparently there are seven golf courses in Marrakech but none for poor kids. Clearly, the Millennium Development Goals need amending.

* Here's an offer you can't refuse. The South West Forum for voluntary and community organisations is promoting a pilot scheme on the implementation of Total Place, the government initiative that aims to improve public service delivery through greater collaboration between deliverers.

In case you weren't sure of the relevance to your organisation, the brochure promises that "participation in the pilot provides the opportunity to influence where public service expenditure cuts can be made".

So have your say on how you want to be s****** by government cutbacks - or, better still, make sure your nearest rival is forced out of business instead of you. It's all good, clean Darwinian fun.

- Mathew Little is a freelance writer,


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