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You think 2009 was bad?

So that was 2009. A year that began with a rather limp recession action plan and a damning National Audit Office report on the Government’s £446m attempts to strengthen the third sector, ended with the appointment of a new job-sharing, on-loan director-general of the Office of the Third Sector and the worst Compact breach in the agreement’s inglorious 11-year history.

In between there were job losses – bucket loads of them – as well as charities withdrawing from unprofitable welfare-to-work contracts and the acrimonious closure of the Third Sector Leadership Centre. Good, wasn’t it?

As for the highlights… well, Christie’s, the Manchester hospital charity, fought a loud and successful campaign to retrieve the £6.5m it had invested in failed Icelandic banks (although other charities didn’t get their money back), thanks to some government sleight of hand that nobody cared to investigate and the Scout Association beat ministers into submission with their persistent Stop the Rain Tax campaign.

A new Cabinet sub-committee was set up to do something or the other about removing the barriers that might help third sector organisations win central government contracts.

But perhaps the best news is that by this time next year, 2009 might not look so bad after all. Spring cuts at local authorities, the looming Comprehensive Spending Review and this wretched recession are only likely to increase the chill factor.

It would be nice to think things won’t turn out to be that bad over the next 12 months.

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  • Simon Frank

    Dear God John, what a miserable outlook! Not even a glass half empty point of view.

    Why link the fortunes of the third sector with policy decisions by central and local government? It’s part of the story but by no means the whole of it.

    We work independently of politicians. We run on different fuel to these people – hope, imagination, a genuine desire to make the world a better place.

    Yes it’s been a tough year and it might even get worse, but for the most part, donors have continued to support the charities they love. We’ve seen many record breaking appeals this year – it’s been a humbling experience.

    Our whole sector is undergoing something of a quiet revolution at the moment. It’s finally discovered online for one thing. Change is in the air for many of the dusty pillars of the charitable establishment and for me that’s a genuine cause for excitement and optimism.

    I have to say I’m looking forward to next year. It’s going to be a huge challenge. The public focus on our sector is only going to grow as Government cuts it’s own public spending budget.

    This is not a time for despair and wringing of hands. It’s time to get stuck in.

  • Melow Meldrew

    Why offer Tesco’s free labour they don’t have to pay or employ after, whilst 12,000 jobs just went to migrants ? The state is abusing our youth and the sick and the unemployed, charity hasn’t a hope of finding work for 2 million people, when themselves use unpaid help it looks a bit suss frankly, the object of employment is to get a WAGE, not for rich business to take advantage of our young people for nothing. It Just looks like Charity is hoping to pick up funds for itself and with no expected major outcome at all or indeed paying staff that work for them. Did not the RNID withdraw from the whole debacle because the funding was so low, the charity couldn’t function as an assist to unemployed. I don’t see stacking shelves at supermarkets for 10 years for free encourages anyone. There are 6,000 young people in my area alone who will never see a wage….