Speech: Matt Hancock’s speech at the Charity Commission’s Annual Public Meeting

first_imgIt is wonderful to have had The Duke of Cambridge supporting this event today. He has been a superb ambassador for the sector, and his passion for the welfare of our armed forces, for young people and for the environment has given a huge boost to charities in the UK.I would also like to offer my appreciation for everything that William Shawcross has done in his time as Chair.It can be a difficult job, which involves making some courageous judgements. And William, you have certainly not shirked from making those.William, you have greatly improved the standing of the Commission, preserved the independence of the sector and laid the foundations for the growth in strength and size which we will see for years to come.You have been unafraid to identify the big challenges and then have acted to tackle them, bringing the sector with you. I have no doubt that British charities under your leadership are a bigger force for good than ever before.I’m absolutely thrilled to be leading DCMS. The Department does many things but basically it’s the Department for the Things That Make Life Worth Living.This means the arts, culture, sport, and also the ties that bind us in our communities; the charities, faith groups and neighbourhood projects that hold our society together.It’s also the Department for Digital and for me this is equally crucial to the things that make life worth living. Tech isn’t just transforming the economy.It’s changing how communities work and opening up new opportunities for our civil society to become yet more effective.The same goes for innovations in finance – the new world of social impact investment, bringing new approaches and new forms of finance to tackle social problems.We’re also seeing innovations in policy which push power and responsibility away from Whitehall and towards local communities, especially local mayors.So I’m starting this job with a huge sense of possibility. I know from my five years as a minister across many departments that a charity is often better equipped to tackle a social problem than the government.And I think there’s a huge amount more we can do in finding opportunities for government, civil society and business to work together.The Charity Commission deserves major credit for developing this sense of possibility, despite tough times.Six years ago the National Audit Office published a pretty tough review of your work and the then chair of the Public Accounts Committee questioned whether the Commission should be thrown on the bonfire.Well, phoenix-like, under William’s leadership, you have risen – last year the NAO hailed ‘significant progress’, which coming from them is like a Nobel Prize.I want to congratulate you for everything that you are doing to maintain the reputation, the independence and the success of the sector.I also want to welcome the work of the Fundraising Regulator. Charities depend on public trust and it is right we challenge those few charities whose bad behaviour endangers the reputation of all.The Fundraising Regulator is also working with other partners to develop simple guidance for small charities on the new GDPR data protection requirements, which I know some of you have questions about.I believe we are on the path towards a more transparent charity sector with higher standards of integrity. And this is important. Because I see an opportunity for the sector to make a major step up in its role.These improvements to governance and funding must continue. Because I want us to focus on our time ahead as an opportunity to work together and improve people’s lives.Whether in public service or service through charities, that is what it’s all about. I believe to my core in the value of public service and the deep integrity of dedicating your working life to improve the lives of others.This is what we do in government, both politicians and civil servants. And it’s what you do in the charitable sector, directly addressing some of the gravest challenges to the human condition and lifting the lives of people across the country and the world. I want this to be the focus of our work together.I commend those charities that are working to fix problems and responding to need, usually on a small, local scale.I also commend the charities which are playing a role in preventing social problems and not just fixing them.This might be through setting the framework for action by other charities, the public sector and businesses. Or it could be bringing together everyone involved on an issue to coordinate their work, pool finance and agree common goals.All charities that operate on the ground make a valuable contribution. Often the life-blood of our communities, I pledge today that I will always fight to protect and promote you. But I also want to see charities playing a strategic role in our social policy and practice.Likewise, I want the Charity Commission not just to be known for challenging badly operating charities, as important as this is, but for actively supporting all charities to be the best that they can be.My brilliant colleague Tracey Crouch has recently been appointed ministerial lead on loneliness and social isolation.This is one of the most pressing social issues of our time, with research showing that nine million people say they always or often feel lonely.I know that charities and civil society will play a crucial part in our cross-government strategy on loneliness. We are looking forward to working with you to develop and implement it.Tracey also recently announced a review of civil society in the UK, with the objective of publishing a government strategy later this year.We both see this as a major opportunity to set a new direction for UK civil society and to put charities centre-stage in local communities and public services.This is of course not entirely new. Britain has a unique tradition of philanthropy and of social innovations which began through charitable activity.Everything from hospitals and hospices to insurance and pensions have their roots in the independent initiative of individuals and communities, developing mutual solutions to the challenges of the time.In 1948, William Beveridge followed his famous report on a new health and welfare system with another report called Voluntary Action. He saw the work of charities as vital to a strong and free society.I could not agree more and I very much intend to maintain that tradition.I’m looking forward to working with all of you to help our nation’s incredible charities to strengthen and grow.I pledge that I will be by your side all the way.Thank you very much.last_img read more

Mosquito Management

first_imgBumps. Welts. Red splotches. Itchy spots.If this is your body after an outdoor outing, you need help. No matter what you do, you can’t completely eliminate the creeping, crawling, flying pests. However, the following tips will at least decrease the number of offenses you suffer and the amount of liquid refreshment you donate to the nasty little suckers.Get that woodsy smell as soon as possible. Bees and bugs are attracted to strong fragrances, so avoid using soaps, lotions, shampoos, and colognes. Forgo the deodorant before heading into the woods.Be aware of the colors you wear. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, especially blue. Pick beige or other neutral colors for hiking clothes.Learn to recognize places that are popular with bugs. Look before you sit down to make sure you’re not about to take a break on an anthill. Ticks gather on tall grasses and overhanging brush, yellow jackets nest in the ground, flies hover around animals, and mosquitoes like cool, moist places. (Ladies, you’ll be gratified to know studies show that mosquitoes prefer men. Bring along your boyfriend, husband, or other member of the opposite sex and watch the bugs go for him instead of you.)Be aware of the times of day bugs will be most active. Black flies are busiest in the morning, mosquitoes just after sunrise and before sunset, and deer flies during midday. (If you happen to be in a place where all of these are present at the same time—good luck!)Use clothing to cover your skin. Some authorities suggest wearing long sleeves and pants year-round. Of course, it can get mighty hot and humid wearing those clothes during a southern Appalachian summer, so if you hike in a T-shirt and shorts, bring along repellent. (I’ll be discussing various repellent options in a future posting.)Check yourself and your hiking partners for ticks and/or bites. In the case of deer ticks, which are the source of Lyme disease, the thing you are looking for could be as small as the period at the end of this sentence. Treat a bite with hydrogen peroxide and watch for a bulls-eye rash or flu-like symptoms. The presence of either should prompt a visit to your doctor.The long days of summer are made for outings in the woods. Just be prepared and don’t let the little buggers get to you.last_img read more

Castro on top as McIlroy finds form

first_img Woods, who replaced McIlroy at the top of the rankings earlier this year, had never had a bogey-free round in 55 previous attempts in the tournament, but at least carded a five-under 67, his first sub-70 opening round in the £6.1million event, which offers more than £1million to the winner. McIlroy had reaped the benefits of a conservative approach after missing the cut in his previous three appearances in golf’s ‘unofficial fifth major’ with a scoring average of 74. Starting from the 10th, McIlroy carded five birdies in a back nine of 31, including at the treacherous par-three 17th after a superb approach to seven feet on the island green. He could only find one more birdie coming home – pitching to two feet on the par-five second – but also saved par from short of the green on the fifth and from a greenside bunker on the eighth. With scoring conditions almost perfect for the early starters, Steve Stricker, Casey Wittenberg and Hunter Mahan all finished five under and were joined by Woods, Webb Simpson and Ryan Palmer. Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington were five off the lead after rounds of 68, while Lee Westwood matched the 69 of Masters champion Adam Scott. The most remarkable round of the day came from Westwood’s Ryder Cup team-mate Peter Hanson, who started from the 10th with a double bogey and took eight on the 18th, but also had seven birdies and an eagle in a two-under 70. Vijay Singh, who on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the PGA over its handling of his anti-doping case, finished two over after a 74, one shot better than Ian Poulter who wrote on Twitter: “Not the best day in the office. Followed by a urine sample in a cup for our drug friends. It’s ok I haven’t taken any horn juice lately haha.” That was a reference to the deer antler spray Singh admitted to taking in January which was said to contain a banned substance. Castro carded an eagle and seven birdies in a nine-under-par 63 which matched the course record set by Fred Couples in 1992 and equalled by Greg Norman two years later. However, world number two Rory McIlroy shot a flawless 66 to share second place with former Masters champion Zach Johnson, while Tiger Woods was set to do the same until his only bogey of the day on the 18th after failing to get up and down from over the green. World number 267 Roberto Castro was the surprise leader after the first round of the prestigious Players Championship, but the top two players in the rankings were ominously poised at Sawgrass.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Forde has ‘great case’ for appeal of suspension

first_imgFormer Tipp hurler Conor O’ Brien thinks Jason Forde has a great case for getting his one match suspension overturned.Forde was originally handed a two match ban but it was halved on appeal – and the offence lessened to ‘contributing to a melee.’The Silvermines club man’s appeal hearing is expected to be heard early this week, before Tipp’s opening round of the Munster Championship against Cork next weekend. Conor O’ Brien says he hopes Forde will be good to go for Sunday.last_img