Social Skirmishes: news from the social care world

Keith Sellick looks at the how economic slowdown has impacted on social care

● The cold winds of economic crisis blew through the streets of Derby last week to batter the doors of the Riverside Centre where BASW England held its conference (see p4). According to Comcare’s scribbler, lunch was two rolls each and delegates had to sign up beforehand. It appears rationing and tighter eligibility criteria are hitting everyone.

● But some good news to show that there is light at the other end of the tunnel. The charity set up by Northern Rock, the nationalised mortgage lender, is handing out more than £2m to 25 charities and cultural groups in the north east. These include: Groundwork in East Durham, which helps disadvantaged young people, and a domestic abuse centre in Teesside.

● Difficult times bring people together. So you would have thought that councils and charities would be united by their financial woes in applying for bail out funds and sympathy. But Bracknell Forest Council, which has £5m in Icelandic banks, has clamped down on street collections by charities. They have confined collections to a particular area saying that they pose a health and safety risk.

● Meanwhile, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations lists the charities caught to the tune of £120m in Icelandic banks. They are all good causes including Cats Protection stung for £11.2m. Cats and an island famous for its fishing: there’s a moral there somewhere.

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