Posts Tagged ‘Education’

A Dickens of a Going on at The Retailers Charity


In the 19th century when Charles Dickens was chairman this charity was called the ‘Warehousemen & Clerk’s School’ subsequently renamed Purley Children’s Trust, The Textile Industry’s  Children’s Trust and now glorying under the current name and focus. It helps the children of folk who have worked for more than a year in clothing retail, clothing manufacture, laundry or fashion.

Even today these sectors seldom offer secure, well paid jobs. In the UK the demise of so many retail outlets and foreign clothes imports has added to the stress such a charity may feel on behalf of their ‘clients’. Indeed they have helped 547 children at a cost of £198,184 this year but currently report on the website ‘…just a quick note to say we know we’ve been a bit quiet on this front recently. We’ve had a few comings and goings over the last few months, so things have been a bit up in the air!   ..’

I wanted a charity in this space where I could be positive and able to help as I can envisage a significant need. Large corporate mismanagement, high street closures, pension and redundancy problems must be depressing for staff in these areas. After looking through their reports and accounts  I have a couple of issues.

  • They have £8,950,000 pounds in reserves potentially built up over many decades of prudent even parsimonious policies and a school sale. At current levels of new grant  money already in the bank could cover 30 years further grants.
  • Have the charity added ‘Fashion’ to be in the fashion of broadening their remit to attract more requests from grantees? Is there an inclination to add to the core charitable remit rather than excelling on the real job to be done.
  • Salary costs are conservative but the ‘cost of raising funds’ at £95k is too high when only £36k is raised from donations and trading. The main 95% of  income comes from historic investment income. Hence there is little or no incentive for new donors to become involved.
  • The 600+ year old Drapers Company 251403 makes grants in similar areas including Education and Young People , Social Welfare and Textiles and Heritage with it’s £65m funds. Despite a higher income, reserves and profile I am still not sure they do a better job.

Grassroots Literacy Assistance

Following the ‘Charity Short’ post ‘Helping Children Enjoy Reading’ I ventured into a pop up shop in Bradford that was giving away books  for free.  Organised by the Global Education Trust  1144969 (GET) they have 29 outlets offering free books in the belief that primary education must be free and available to all children to help raise child and adult literacy rates in the UK

GET as a small charity spends two thirds of it’s £60,000 annual income on rates and relies on donations, volunteers and free rents to fulfill the charitable activities that include:

  • Making its own charitable donation to support the activities of other registered charities for the advancement of education.
  • Provided funding for education overseas.
  • Donating educational materials to schools and UK communities
  • Collecting, sorting and redistributing books.

As well as providing physical resources globally, GET also consider providing financial assistance in the form of bursaries and educational support. They also believe that every adult deserves the ability to read and write. ‘Good standards of literacy form a key enabler in all walks of life.’


  1. It is not easy starting and running a small charity.
  2. GET will have issues hopefully no worse than having had to restrict free books to 3 per person per visit to prevent commercial abuse of their charitable nature.
  3. Literacy is an issue and it is interesting to note in these 2 posts that at least 10 organisations are making some progress.

Helping Children Enjoy Reading

Seven Stories 1056812

Is it a book, is it a museum no it’s The National Centre for Children’s Books? (with thanks to Chubby Checker and Hank Ballard 1960 for the twist.)

This charity is celebrating Britain’s heritage of children’s literature in a visitor attraction located, you guessed it, in a seven story building in Newcastle. Sustainability is built around income from the visitor attraction, learning programmes and a wholly owned trading company. A sister charity is building a collection of contemporary British children’s books and related original artwork, manuscripts and archives. This a should not remain a secret seven.

‘Volunteer Reading Help’  296454 Operating as Beanstalk they recruit, train and support volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading. The Duchess of Cornwall has been the Patron of Beanstalk since their 40th anniversary

‘Literacy-focused charities and organisations are celebrating Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall’s upcoming 70th birthday by giving 70 primary schools across the UK a set of 70 children’s books and specially designed bookshelves. The duchess is patron of  the  organisations involved – the National Literacy Trust, Beanstalk, BookTrust, First Story, Roald Dahl Literary Estate and the Wicked Young Writer Awards. The 70 schools selected to receive the books have all shown they are committed to promoting reading for enjoyment, and many are in disadvantaged areas of the UK.’

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a free book-gifting programme launched in 1995 by the country singer. The Imagination Library sends a book in the post every month to each enrolled child. The scheme begins at birth and ends on a child’s fifth birthday. Various Council districts have launched this programme to improve literacy and reduce exclusion. Funded largely by The Dollywood Foundation and participating local authorities.