Monday, 9 February 2009

UK Government to inject £42M into charities

Just maybe something there for CE, if it changes

Yesterday’s announcement of how the UK Government is to respond to pestering from ‘the charities’ for subsidy/bail-out in these hard times reveals, as predicted earlier these pages, money for furthering government agendas rather than for most organisations to pursue exiting ways of doing things.

What’s on offer?

There can be few things more pathetic or embarrassingly cringe-worthy than present-day British ministers trying to sound Churchillian:

Cut through the guff and puff, however, to find the beef behind this announcement, how this relatively modest sum is to be allocated through the following programmes:
  • Real help for Communities: Volunteers, Charities and Social Enterprises will invest up to £10 million in a scheme to help create more than 40,000 opportunities for people to learn new skills and give back to communities through volunteering.
  • The Community Resilience Fund will have £15.5 million to provide grants to small and medium-sized organisations in deprived communities, plus £16.5-million modernisation fund to help with the cost of mergers, partnerships and moves to more efficient sharing of back-office functions, for at least 3,000 voluntary organisations.
  • The School for Social Entrepreneurs will get £500,000 to double the number of people that it trains to become social entrepreneurs, particularly those working in deprived communities.

What’s in it for CE?

  • It will take some nifty footwork for existing CE organisations to redefine/ adjust/straightjacket/redirect what they do or what they plan to do to meet the criteria of these government programmes. This will require fast, hard thinking and interchange between those directly concerned with conductive services (conductors/service-users) and those who have to find the money (trustees, fund-seekers).
  • This could result in concrete proposals for some genuinely new focuses, practices and structures, combined with diminishing or ceasing some established ones.
  • That’s for existing CE organisations, but for Conductive Education as a whole and its future development the Government's £42m could fund creation of altogether new conductive initiatives, with practical posibilities under all three catagories, or individuals wanting to start something new or for attracting into the sector organisations with no previous involvement in CE.


  • Certainly not perpetuation of ways of delivery of CE as we know it.
  • Certainly, if CE is to access any of this new money, change.

Implications, plus/minus?

  • Perhaps further dilution/distortion of what constitutes CE.
  • Perhaps some refreshing new initiatives.

Very possibly, though, this opportunity may simply be missed altogether. Please don’t let this happen.


Press Association (2009) £42m boost for struggling charities (release), 8 February


  1. The charity industry has been quick to respond: it's a start but more's wanted.



  2. I carelessly used the phrase ‘new money’ to describe this £42. This did seem rather strange at the time…

    It has soon emerged that the money is not ‘new’ at all. I wish that I still had the capacity to be surprised, despite it having being officially described as ’significant new money for the sector’.

    The scheme covers only England. Other parts of the country may, or may not, set up similar plans.

    Charities hope that further plans might be announced. The Government thinks not.