Society Diary: Stop the presses we have some important hedgehog news 

07 Feb 2020 Voices

Happy Friday readers. We hope you’re all enjoying your new found freedoms now that we’ve been liberated from the shackles of Brussels. Diary tried to tear down the health and safety rules in the office but got a paper cut.

This week Diary has done some solid hedgehog research, considers the latest developments in trustee recruitment, and reports on how one MP’s shoulder is causing “outrage” but also raising money for charity. 

A mini pub for hedgehogs! 

Roll up, roll up, hedgehogs of Britain, and grab yourself a tiny tinny in the new The Hibernation Arms. The mini pub has been launched by Camden Town Brewery in partnership with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS). And no, the creators aren't having a kegs-istential crisis, the local watering hole will actually be used as a hideaway for hedgehogs that need a place to sleep in winter, and for them to birth hoglets in the summer.

Camden’s latest lager, Hells in Hibernation, will give a portion of sales to the charity (but please no drinking the strong stuff if you are a hoglet).

Diary has found out that hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, and suspects beer might not be the best option for our spiky friends either. But, a bit like us humans, who have seen a decline in local pubs, hedgehogs have also been losing their habitats.

So as much as sleeping for months on end sounds an easy feat, hibernation isn’t easy for British wildlife these days. Diary is pleased to see that this hog-sized-hut provides a safe space for hedgehogs to go about their days.

There are many breeds of trustee

There has been much talk in recent years about whether charity governance is up to scratch, and what can be done to improve it. 

Well perhaps Battersea has the answer. Speaking at Civil Society Media’s Fundraising Live conference yesterday, fundraising director Catherine Miles revealed that her charity has an extra special member of its trustee board. 

That member is Madge, a Miniature Schnauzer. During a panel debate on “enhancing the fundraiser-trustee dynamic”, Miles described Madge as “very staunch on governance”, and explained how she sits diligently at her chair during the meeting. 

A quick Google reveals that Miniature Schnauzers are obedient, fearless, intelligent, spirited, alert and friendly, which seem like the ideal characteristics for trusteeship. Battersea seems to be onto something.

However, there are some potential downsides. Madge appears not to be formally registered as a trustee with the Charity Commission, which could cause all sorts of constitutional problems. And she is also owned by the charity’s chair Amanda Burton, which suggests there wasn't an open recruitment process.

But there’s no doubting her commitment – why let bureaucracy get in the way of a good thing?

Shouldering on for charity 

The political news this week was obviously Tracy Brabin’s shoulder making an appearance in the House of Commons. 

In case you missed it, earlier this week to the shock and horror of, well a few vicious trolls, Brabin’s dress slipped while she was speaking, revealing her bare shoulder. We’ve all been there: found the perfect dress but only if you don’t bend, sneeze, twitch, eat or breathe. Most of us don’t end up a the centre of a social media storm though. 

Of course, this meant that the trolls immediately stopped paying attention to what she might be saying to question: *adopts clipped headmasterly tone* “whether this is appropriate attire?”

Inevitably this was met with the equally tired retort from most sensible people that this is 2020, why are we still focusing on what women wear to work? It's all getting really rather boring. 

But at last some good has come out of it. Brabin is auctioning the item to raise money for Girlguiding. So far the bidding has reached £2,600. 

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