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Occasional Dairy - England

Wednesday, 8th February 2006

A HUGE thank you to those of you who have already offered to sponsor us and give a donation to one of our charities. Please click here to go to the charity support page to make your donation.

Sunday, 5th February 2006, London, UK
Cycling the world to raise funds for charity. So many of our fellow cycling friends try to raise funds for charity whilst they are on their cycling trips. After much nagging from Richard I agreed we should to do the same.

Of course the news is constantly highlighting cases where charitable donations are spent unwisely or simply squandered. Someone asked me a few days ago "Is it true that the patron of a charity is entitled to 20% of the income?"

Not all charities work this way and I definitely know one!

I used to be a Trustee of Trade plus Aid so I know that 100% of funds raised do actually go to the projects which it funds. The charity does not have any employees and all the Trustees do the work out of their own time. The only thing that the charity pays for is it's bank charges and accountancy fees. It also is slightly different than many charities as it basically works on the premise that it aims to be self-sufficient, receiving funds, not from the public, government nor aid programmes, but through the promotion of ethical trade. Two companies have been set up Charlotte di Vita Ltd and 21st Century Leaders Ltd which donate 100% of their net profits to the charity.

So I got in touch with Trade plus Aid asking if they would accept any funds we raised to go to environmental projects. Mine was a simple idea, just pick an environmental project to raise funds for, advertise it on our website and ask Trade plus Aid to accept the funds.

Of course Charlotte di Vita, the founder of Trade plus Aid and Managering Director of 21st Century Leaders Ltd came up with a bigger and better idea - not that that surprises me in the least having known her for 27 years now.

Her idea is for us to select not 1 charitable project but a whole variety of them covering everything from environmental projects (rainforest, climate change, marine conservation), human aid (children, aids, amnesty international), wildlife (endangered species, etc) and cycle round the world visiting the projects. Every month or so we'll send out a newsletter on the latest project we've visited explaining what has been done with the funds raised and how much has been raised to date.

So in the 2 weeks we have left to do we have a lot of work! We've got to find projects, redesign our website, refit ourselves with some equipment (some of our stuff has not managed to survive the 1st year and we have another 5 to go!) Eeeekk!

To help us 21st Century Leaders will find sponsors for a "Click to donate" concept. On their website they will list our charities and people who click on one of the projects will receive an e-card to send to their friends. The e-cards will be based on the artworks provided by the celebrities that have donated artworks to 21st Century Leaders Ltd. Celebrities include people such as Bob Geldolf, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Coldplay, David Bowie, Linford Christie, Richard Branson, Billy Connolly the list just goes on and on!

So if anyone has any ideas on charitable projects to fund we'd love to hear from you. We already have several in mind but the world's a big  place! You can contact us here.

Saturday, 28th January 2006, London, UK
Adjusting to London Life! Well our friend Neil has been bawling us out as to how out of date our website is. I have to hold my head in shame as I've got no excuse. Richard is not to blame here - after being back for a few days he received a phone call from his old boss asking him to come in for a drink at the restaurant he used to work at. Needless to say that after being plied with vast quantities of superb wine, he fell victim to Otto's flattery and agreed to come back for a couple of weeks and help out.  More of a "PR exercise" than having to lug crates around as Otto put it. He managed to persuade Richard that all the old customers were constantly asking after Richard. Of course the reality is far from true and poor Richard is working even more shifts than he used to do in the old days, being paid less and is even too exhausted to respond to friend's email on the weekend when he just wants to get some sleep and recover. So apologies to all of you who have been emailing like made over the last month and have had nothing but silence in return.

For those of you from London, if you haven't yet been to The Don in St Swithin's Lane (near Cannon Street) go now while you have the chance to say hello to Richard! His last night is the 10th Feb. It is an excellent restaurant with a fantastic selection of wines - constantly in reviews and always in the top of reviews of restaurants with the best wine lists.


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