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Dawlish News

Dawlish News
Dawlish News
17 Feb 2024 11:20

A DAWLISH community charity has been granted £60,000 by the Lottery to help its services in the area for the next three years.


Dawlish News (MId Devon Advertiser) can't even get the basics right.

Roots Community Enhancement is not a charity. It is a 'social' entreprise, a Community Interest Company (CIC)

Company number 11375189


It relies on unpaid workers (volunteers) to deliver just over 4 hours of provision weekly plus just under 3 hours additional hours one day a month.

In 2022/23 around 70% of community funding was used to pay its staff, some £34K. The only staff are  it's Directors, including Cllr Rosie Dawson and her husband.


Is that good value for the taxpayer? Can a business approach really fill the void left by the dismantling of vital public services?


We now live in a society where barebones mental health and community provision is funded by state sanctioned gambling (next we'll see Lottery grants to tackle gambling addiction!) and where paid Directors are needed to organize the goodwill of local people who work for nothing.

19 Feb 2024 18:00

So the volunteers get hew-haw and the directors get the dosh?

3 Agrees

@1263 Yes, it's pretty feudal. Maybe a Director or two does an hour here or there, but judging from the website the sessions are predominantly delivered by unpaid workers. They don't even pay the Ukrainian translator who's an 'ad-hoc' volunteer, that's a highly skilled role.


Nowadays the core work of charities and social entreprises increasingly relies upon unpaid workers (volunteers), which is a completely unsustainable business model. Both have to function as businesses as they need to be profitable, which is achieved by basing activity on volunteers and in the case of charities being allowed a tax exemption.

Charities function like businesses and are run by CEOs and committees chiefly comprised of people from the business sector and social entreprises are just like any other Ltd Company. However both can apply for public funding. They both come under the 'not for profit' label as it sounds ethical. but that depends on how much the Charity CEO and CIC Director(s) and staff earn and then compare that to the number of unpaid workers and their workload.


Personally I couldn't earn money as the boss of people who weren't being paid. I couldn't look myself in the mirror each morning. It's unethical.


In the past volunteers would add benefit to an organisation, but that organisation's core activity would operate with or without those volunteers. These days volunteers are treated like unpaid staff with greater responsibilities such as being a project lead with the greater commitment that entails. In theory a volunteer can choose not to turn up or quit whenever they want, as they're not in an employment contract. But that would create a gap in provision that the funding body or Council expects that organisation to deliver and has already paid for. So it's a particularly  unsustainable model and not an effective use of public funds, given that it depends upon goodwill which seems to have a short shelf-life, given that volunteers often move on if they find paid employment (the volunteer post may be a stepping stone) or they become disillusioned with the lack of progression in terms of their personal development, or they might feel expolited - perhaps if they find out how much the Director(s) earns by looking the organisation on Company's house on the government website.


People need to reflect on the whole 'giving back' notion linked to volunteering. It implies people get something in the first place from our system. It looks all take-take-take and ultra competitive from my perspective.

It's worth reflecting on whether anything is actually changing for the better with welfare increasingly being outsourced to the third-sector (Charities and Social Entreprises). It doesn't seem to be working well so far, does it?

Some will argue that without Charities and Social Entreprise society would be far worse off. I'd argue they're at best slowing an inevitable decline. I also believe communities would implement solutions without Charity CEOs on huge salaries and Social Entreprise Director's taking a sizeable cut of public funds.

People can still give 'service' to community organizations, sports clubs, etc where nobody benefits financially or they can self-organize.

Never work for nothing.


Maybe volunteers get something out of working for a Charity or Social Entreprise. If that's the case and you're not concerned with people earning a wage on the back of your hard work, then crack on. Some people are followers/underlings. If you're benefitting because you're learning a new skill or the social aspect of beneficial to your wellbeing, etc, then just be aware that if the situation changes you have options; you shoukd have regular supervison, your manager should take an interest in your development and welbeing - moreso than a paid worker given that you're agreeing to work for nothing at all. So know your rights, treat it as a job. Charities and CIC's treat it like a job, many require you to fill in an application form, send a CV, do a DBS form, agree to their policies, etc. So a contract or agreement should be drawn up so you know your responsibilities and their responsibilites to you. It should not be one-sided. If they're vetting you - you need to vett them!

If you never receive any supervision, if you feel you're going nowhere or feeling undervalued then leave and go elsewhere.


Or give your time to a project or club where nobody is in it for the money.


Before you enter into a volunteer position with an organisation, look at their website, see who does what and at what level. Are they paid? Or not? How much does the CEO/Director earn?

More transparency is needed concerning how public funds are spent on what is replacing the welfare state.

People who blindly believe Charities and Social Enterprises are autonatically 'good', impactful, value for money, ethical, etc, need to delve deeper.


3 Agrees
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