This is my first issue editing Third Sector since Stephen Cook stepped aside last month after 12 years at the helm. All month we've been receiving letters and emails from senior charity figures praising Steve for his contribution to the sector down the years.
Thankfully, Steve remains very much involved in the magazine in his new role of contributing editor. This month he was tasked with interviewing Barbara Frost, the chief executive of WaterAid. Frost has turned the water and sanitation charity into one of the stand-out charity successes in recent years. Its income has shot up to £84m a year and its clever campaigns have struck a chord with both the public and politicians. Perhaps most impressively, it has achieved this without attracting the ire of the press or the public over its fundraising practices.
On the subject of fundraising, we take a look at what's happening to the telephone and face-to-face agencies that many charities have relied on to generate income. A number of leading agencies have closed, driven out of business by concerns about their practices and charities' wavering faith in using third parties. The end might not be nigh, but more tough times lie ahead.
We also ask what has happened to the Conservatives' volunteering leave pledge. Few details have emerged since the general election and there has even been speculation it might be quietly dropped. Sector insiders reassure us that encouraging discussions with government are taking place behind the scenes. However, we should not expect this potentially expensive policy to come to fruition any time soon.
On a final note, we have launched this year's Third Sector Awards. They're a great way to recognise the excellent charitable endeavours taking place across the country, so please do find some time to enter.