The week on the web

A chance to catch up on news from the past seven days. For the stories in full go to www.thirdsector.co.uk/week.

THE BIG STORIES

- Big Lottery Fund launches grants round

The Big Lottery Fund has launched the second round of its Basis grant stream, which was established to support third sector infrastructure. The lottery distributor says £50m is available to "fill the gaps" after the heavily oversubscribed first round of funding, in which £101m was awarded to 206 projects. "This second round of Basis is taking a more targeted approach to ensure funding is used to meet identified needs with third sector infrastructure support," said Sanjay Dighe, chair of the fund's England Committee.

- Finance conference addresses accountability

Charities should appoint people at board level to handle transparency, the annual Charity Finance Directors' Group conference heard. Accountability to stakeholders was the main theme of the event in London on 8 May. Michael Hammer, executive director of the One World Trust, said his organisation carried out surveys every year, all of which found that charities were lagging behind multinationals. He said appointing people at board level with a specific remit for transparency could help organisations to avoid "multiple accountability disorder" when trying to reconcile their separate responsibilities to donors, beneficiaries, government, employees, the public and one another.

- Company denied charity status sets up trust

A healthcare company that was refused charitable status on the grounds that it did not provide public benefit has set up a separate charitable trust. The Charity Commission ruled that Odstock Private Care, which was set up to look after Salisbury District Hospital's private patients, could not be registered as a charity because people on low incomes would not be able to afford its services (Third Sector Online, 14 December 2007). However, the commission has now registered a new organisation, the Odstock Charitable Trust, as a charity. The trust will work only with NHS patients and will function separately from its parent company. The company will gift its profits to the charity.

BEST OF THE REST

- National Trust to invest millions in digital output

The National Trust is creating 21 jobs with the launch of a new digital media department to improve digital communication with the charity's 1.7 million members. The department will have nearly £5m over the next two years to overhaul the trust's digital output, such as its website (pictured).

- Expert calls for tax relief on social enterprise investment

A leading social financier has called on the Government to offer tax relief to social enterprise investors. In his address at the Good Deals conference on social investment, Nigel Kershaw, chief executive of Big Issue Invest, urged the Treasury to reward those who take on risky investments.

- Foundation offers £19m funding phase

The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation is launching a second phase of funding worth up to £19m as part of its move towards being more independent and flexible. The grant-making organisation has announced three new strands based on food, voluntary sector work in Northern Ireland and finance.

- Community empowerment networks 'face funding cuts'

Forty per cent of community empowerment networks will lose either all or some of their local authority funding over the next year, a survey by regeneration groups membership charity Urban Forum has found. The poll of 79 of the networks found that 18 per cent were losing all of their funding.

- No, really!

Rainbows - Girlguiding UK's youngest members - are growing sunflowers and giving them to adults in their local communities to encourage them to join the movement as volunteers. The campaign coincides with the 21st anniversary of the establishment of the Rainbows, open to girls from the age of five before they join the Brownies.

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