Columnist Rosemary Westwell says ‘we’ve forgotten the meaning of charity’

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell,

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell, - Credit: Archant

We’ve forgotten the meaning of charity

‘Charity’ means an organization set up to help and raise money for the needy or the simple act of giving voluntary help and we would all like to think that it is something worthy of support. However, nowhere can I see that it is for a lot of career- minded, money-seeking individuals to make a success of their own lives, irrespective of the success or failure of their organization to help the people intended. Once, when a representative of a large charity came to see me in his very pricey car and admitted he was paid four times my teacher’s salary, I stopped supporting his organization. I have been unable to find a significant, well-known charity advertising recently that does not pay a large number of staff well over the odds. Surely genuine charity workers would expect no more than average survival wages?

You donate the money, then what? While many good organizations do use the majority of your donations for the intended purpose, there are many others that never make sure the money they grant is not being given to heartless rogues who keep it for themselves. Before we donate, we should be offered evidence of some accountability to prove that we aren’t being cheated.

Another time, I was walking along Hills Road in Cambridge and gave a beggar some food I had been saving for later. He tossed it aside and snarled that he wanted money.

Such an uncharitable attitude extends to the way our villagers are treated. Rules and regulations are made to protect us, yet they are used by large self-serving companies to force badly-planned, money-grabbing developments on us. They present beautiful lengthy tomes that prove that they have ticked all the boxes, but a lot of the time they only prove that they have made no attempt to follow the SPIRIT of the law.


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Then some good-spirited people offering to work for nothing are prevented from doing so because they first have to pay a lot of money for checks, qualifications or courses they don’t really need. After working for an organization for twelve years I was required to fill in a 12-paged-form proving who I was. I mean, after twelve years they jolly well know who I was! I resigned instead.

We should all resist uncharitable attitudes such as these.

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