Saturday, December 07, 2013

Christmas charity donations

Christmas treeA very long time ago, I agreed with my family that instead of giving each other Christmas presents, we should all give money to charity instead. We're not a rich family, but it's true that we're not a poor family either, and the annual Christmas present buying exercise where we all spent money giving each other stuff that we probably don't really need starting seeming a bit gross to me. Giving money to charity instead seems much more sensible. Although I'm not really a Christian, I was brought up as a Christian, so I know that in many ways this idea is very much in tune with the Christmas spirit.

Initially I asked my family to suggest worthy charities, but for the last six years, I've been asking readers to give me suggestions for Christmas charity donations instead (see 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012). This year there's around £1200 to give away, and all sensible suggestions are welcome :-).

Update 13-Dec-2013: charity donation result.

This year I decided that I really shouldn't donate to charities that generally have an income which is higher than their spending. This information is readily available from the Charity Commission website, and it was interesting assessing the charities that I donated to last year using this criterion.

I've supported Crisis (charity number 1082947) for many years now, however I decided to drop them this year. For the last couple of years their spending has been at least 10% below their income, e.g. spending £19.3m in the year to June 2012 against income of £21.5m, so I don't think they need any support. It's the same story for the Albert Kennedy Trust (charity number 1093815) who've had surpluses every year for the last five years, e.g. income of £690k against spending of £543k in the year to June 2012. Diveristy Role Models (charity number 1142548) is a relatively new charity that was suggested to me last year, however they're also in surplus, spending only £59k against an income of £95k in the year to August 2012.

My good friend Close Encounters had a couple of suggestions. The charity looks excellent, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to be a registered charity in the UK. I always donate via my Charities Trust account, and that means that I can only give to organisations that are registered as charities in the UK. And Close Encounters's other suggestion seems a much less worthy cause to me, because at Christmas I'm really looking to support people in need, rather than help buy paintings that will continue to exist while people all around the world starve.

However, I have found a few charities to donate to :-). Last year and this year, a reader asked me to support Papyrus (charity number 1070896), so I've given them £300. The suggestions of 'Christmas Spirit' look sensible too (the first two of course!), and the Philippine Red Cross seems a popular choice at the moment for obvious reasons. Hence I've given £300 to the British Red Cross Philippines Typhoon Appeal (charity number 220949), and £200 to World Vision (UK) (charity number 285908). For the rest, I've gone back to a couple of charities that I've supported in past years. I've always thought that GMFA (charity number 1076854) does good work so I've given them £200. Finally, a few years ago there was a reader who always used to ask me to support Médecins Sans Frontières (Charity number 1026588) and I always thought that that they seemed especially worthy so I've given them £200 as well.

Happy Christmas everyone :-). GB xxx

Monday, December 02, 2013

Tom Daley

Matthew MitchamTom Daley
Last year, I blogged about whether I should support Matthew Mitcham or Tom Daley in the 10 metre platform diving event at the London 2012 Olympics. I said in that post that I felt I had to support Matthew Mitcham, because Matthew is one of the few openly gay athletes.
However, the news today is that 19 year old Tom Daley has had a boyfriend since spring 2013.

If you listen to what Tom says, he doesn't say that he's gay, he just says that he's very happy dating a guy at the moment and that he still fancies girls. Nonetheless, his announcement makes me very happy too. There's a noticeable lack of athletes who're prepared to be honest like this about their relationships, so having a successful guy like Tom Daley make this kind of announcement is a major step forward.

I'm not going to join the huge chorus of people praising his decision to be honest about his personal life, because so much is already being said, and of course I'm not going to be one of the homophobes who're condemning him. Suffice it to say that even if he's dating a girl by the time the 2016 Olympics comes along, I'm still going to be one of his strongest supporters!