Our weekly round-up of interesting and outlandish information, collected from the corners of the charity sector.
Meals on Wheels make a dog’s dinner of things
We’re going to dive straight into it with this week’s Diary. No hyperbole. No unnecessary verbiage. No prose entrée, so to speak. Because the main course in this metaphor - the real meat on this story’s bone, if you prefer - is just too good.
A German charity has been forced to apologise for mistakenly feeding old people canned dog food.
The Osnabrücker Tafel charity – a kind of rural, German ‘Meals on Wheels’ service for pensioners – mistakenly gave “at least three” senior citizens “high-end glass jars of pet food” because the labels were “posh”.
The food came in jars labelled – and, forgive Diary’s fairly ropey German – “from the land” and were described as a “meat dish in a glass” containing “venison and potatoes in garden vegetables”. Considering that Diary subsists day to day on a diet consisting predominantly of baked beans on toast and lukewarm cups of freeze-dried black coffee, a bit of deer meat sounds pretty good really.
Of the three ‘peckish pensioners’ (see also: ‘starving seniors’, ‘greedy grandparents’, ‘edacious elders’… Oh, somebody stop Diary!) only one of those presented with the posh pet food actually ate any. Of the other two, one managed to spy the “gourmet food for animals” part of the label with a magnifying glass, while the third senior was put off by the smell of the food when heated up in the microwave.
Dieter Möllmann, the head of the charity, has apologised and said that the “mix-up” likely stemmed from one of the organisation’s warehouses which collect as much as five tonnes a day of surplus food from sponsors.
Diary also has it on pretty good authority that eating dog food isn’t going to kill a person, even if that person happens to be as old as time itself. Besides, Herr Möllmann knows that his organisation made a mistake, so there’s no need to rub their noses in it any further.
Pipin' all over the world
A piper from Poole is going round the world to raise money for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and Julia’s House. And no, that’s not the start of a bawdy Limerick that Diary’s been working on in its spare time.
Irene Robinson - a 57-year-old professional forensic health practitioner and amateur bag-pipe enthusiast - is set to travel some 50,000 miles in 50 days, visiting seven continents armed with nothing but a smile and a bag full of kilts, travelling essentials and… pipes.
Robinson’s epic musical journey began in Portsmouth Harbour last Sunday, where she played along with the Royal Navy Pipe Band before blowing a mean solo on the deck of the HMS Victory. Stirring stuff.
From Portsmouth, our charitable pied-piper will play at “iconic locations across seven continents, including New York’s Radio City Music Hall, San Francisco’s Alcatraz, Antarctica’s Port Lockroy, Auckland’s Sky Tower, Sydney’s Captain Cook’s Cruises, and Johannesburg’s Regina Mundi Catholic Church” before finishing in London on the HMS Belfast on 27 February.
Radio City, Alcatraz, the Sky Tower, Antarctica – all good stuff. Surely Sydney could have done a bit better than a ferry though?
Robinson says she wants to make this “as big a challenge as possible” and said she wanted to raise the money for the two charities because they are close to her heart.
Bonnie voyage, lassie! Good luck to you.
Ministerial musings II: The Un-shoeining
One of Diary’s erstwhile reporter colleagues was lucky enough to interview Rob Wilson, minister for civil society, this week. With more than a year in the role under his belt, the minister spoke fairly openly about a number of issues that the sector faces in the coming months.
It was clear to our reporter that Mr Wilson is feeling increasingly comfortable in his role. Perhaps a little too comfortable.
Despite being smartly decked out in the standard, male-ministerial attire of shirt, tie and suit, the minister asked Civil Society’s reporter before the interview if, by any chance, he could possibly conduct it with his shoes off?
No shoes? In the Cabinet Office? Quelle horreur! By all accounts, Rob Wilson has excellent choice in socks though. Bright orange, don’t you know.