NEWS that the charity Kids Company, faced with accusations of financial mismanagement, closed after receiving millions in government grants isn’t surprising.
Such charities attract funding on the basis of the number of clients and their impact. Dishing out money willy-nilly has clients breaking down their doors to get in. These charities then say, “Hey, we’re doing a great job. Look at all these children self-referring to us. Give us even more money!”
Now, I have no problem if private donors are happy to fund such outfits. But UK taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be frittered away like this.
Deserving charities, however, do need our help. Especially those in the UK supported by the late Cilla Black, for instance, and those on the Costa del Sol like Cudeca to which I donate all profits from sales of my novels.
I mention all this since my previous efforts at charity fundraising in the UK had some unexpectedly disastrous results.
In the wake of the 2006 Asian tsunami, I decided to do something myself. And the Red Cross was the unfortunate choice of my first-ever, practical volunteering efforts (previous contributions solely financial).
This involved door-to-door collections of, reportedly, discarded clothes, toys, etc. Actually, it involved everything imaginable and unimaginable. Knives (all shapes and sizes). Half a samurai sword. Artificial limbs (none matching). Two sets of false teeth. What looked like a false eye (possibly an odd-shaped marble). Crutches. Mouse (stay with me here: computer mouse). Masonic apron. Two mauve bridesmaids’ dresses. Box of human hair. Assorted sanitary ware.
Thereafter, I had this constant nightmare of bumping into a toothless, one-legged character on his way to the Masonic Hall brandishing half a samurai sword supported by a bald lady in a mauve wedding dress bearing a bidet.
Anyway, I was doing fine until I reached the last house on my list. A woman eventually opened the door. Before I could speak, she said sweetly: “Sorry, ducky, I’m in the middle of blowdrying the budgie.”
I was so dumbstruck words froze in my mouth as the door slammed shut. I’d got as cheerful a welcome as a Trot at a Tory party conference.
So if, during any future local elections, you need a sure-fire method of ridding yourself of unwanted visitors (canvassers/ politicians) this lady may just have the answer…
Nora Johnson’s thrillers Landscape of Lies, Retribution, Soul Stealer, The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.89;£0.79) and iBookstore. Profits to Cudeca.