Meet Danny (the Pirate) Cooper

Danny (the pirate) Cooper 001
Danny was one of the environmental volunteers invited to Number 10 Downing Street last Wednesday (22/7/09) for the celebration of environmental volunteering hosted by the Prime Minister. Danny volunteers for the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and never stops it seems. He brought his notebook with him and reported the following sightings in the famous Number 10 garden:

  • Silver Birch
  • Ivy
  • London Plane
  • Elasmostethus interstinctus - the Birch Shield bug
  • Common Wasp
  • Small White butterfly
  • Two Blue Tits
  • and a Grey Squirrel

Thanks Danny :-)

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Schumacher on training

Flip Chart Output - Schumacher

On Monday this week (20/7/09) Schumacher College brought together a range of stakeholders to consider the training needs of Third Sector organisations in the area of Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change. This builds on the future scanning work the college has been undertaking and was designed to feed recommendations into the Ministerial Task Force. Three members of the task force participated: Clare Thomas, City Bridge Trust; Jo Butcher, National Children’s Bureau; and Fay Mansell, National Federation of Women’s Institutes.

This flipchart summed up the conclusions of the day - the full size image is here. A full report will be available shortly.

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Help lead a top UK-wide charity and social enterprise

BTCV are recruiting trustees

If you would like to help lead a UK-wide charity and social enterprise, read on. The closing date for applications is 5 August 2009. Read More »

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£16.7m Hardship Fund opens for applications

OTS logo (jpg)

This year’s Budget saw the announcement of a £16.7m Hardship Fund for the sector, building on the £42.5m Real Help for Communities action plan. The Hardship Fund will provide grant support to third sector organisations in England delivering front-line services to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in society that have been affected by the recession.

Grants of between £50,000 and £250,000 are available to organisations with a turnover of at least £200,000 that are in financial hardship which is impacting on their ability to deliver services in the following areas: Health and Social Care, Housing Support, Education and Training, Information, Advice and Guidance.

The Hardship Fund will be administered by the Community Development Foundation (CDF). More information about how to apply and the guidance notes for applicants can be found on the CDF website or by calling 0113 246 1561.

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Environmental volunteering is celebrated at Number 10

No10 Celebration 066
This evening (22/7/09) more than 150 environmental volunteers were invited to Number 10 Downing Street by Gordon Brown to celebrate their work. Cabinet members Hilary Benn and Ed Miliband mingled with the guests.

A selection of photos will be posted here shortly. We are just waiting for clearance from Number 10. They should be available by the close of play on Thursday (23/7/09).

Update (23/7/09, 17:22):
The first 100 or so official photos are now available here. More to follow.

Update (23/7/09, 22:50):
All the official photos (>300) are now available here
To download the photos proceed as follows:

  1. Click on the photo you want
  2. Click on the ALL SIZES button above it
  3. Select the size you want
  4. Click the ‘Download’ link

Here’s a slideshow of all of the photos:

To view this slideshow in full screen mode go here.

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Rural Communities Taking Control of Service Provision for Older People

[Guest blog post by Mike Perry of the Plunkett Foundation]
Older people
‘Working Together for Older People in Rural Areas’, a joint project between the Social Exclusion Task Force and Defra, launched their findings last week. The project findings highlighted a range of challenges in providing services to older people in rural areas. A principle finding was that many rural areas will increasingly face challenges in delivering services for older people. The project also found that local communities are already adapting, innovating and learning to thrive in the context of rural ageing.
Read More »

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Local Heroes please step forward

Green Awards 2009 Logo
This came across my desk yesterday (20/7/09) and may be of interest to readers of this blog.

Defra does not sponsor these awards but has won in various categories in the past. This call is for individual campaigners to step forward. They are looking for people who have taken action on an environmental, ethical or social issue. For more information visit The closing date for entries is Friday 18 September 2009. Note that there is an entry fee (around £25) for individual entries and entries from small organisations.

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The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan launched

Ed Miliband’s video announcement of the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) launched the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan today (15/7/09). The plan plots out how the UK will meet the cut in emissions set out in the budget of 34% on 1990 levels by 2020. Full details are on the DECC website.

These are the key documents (from the DECC website):
The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan: National Strategy for Climate & Energy (PDF, 3.80 MB)
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Social Investment Wholesale Bank consultation launched

OTS logo (jpg)

Today (15/7/09) the Office of the Third Sector (OTS) published a consultation on a Social Investment Wholesale Bank which sets out the vision, the economic case and consults on proposals for the design and functions of a potential bank.

We would urge our Third Sector partners to engage with this consultation. Although it is currently being referred to as the Social Investment Wholesale Bank the text talks about social and environmental investment. OTS do concede that the name is potentially confusing. Please see the footnote 7 on page 9.

The consultation document can be downloaded from the OTS website here (PDF, 320KB). Further detail is available of the OTS website. Responses are required by 7 October 2009.

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Voluntary Sector Independence event

Baring Foundation - Independence Summit Baring Foundation - Independence Summit
The Baring Foundation today hosted a summit on Voluntary Sector Independence, at which Defra was represented. Framed by a number of expert speakers (including Julia Unwin CBE, Chief Executiveof the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Mark Rosenman, Director of Caring to Change), attendees took part in facilitated working groups - looking at existing pressures on the sector’s independence, and what needs to be done in order to protect and promote it.

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