There’s a disturbing piece in the current issue of Private Eye (No. 1284; 18 March 2011 – 31 March 2011; ‘In the Back’ section; page 30) about the Alzheimer’s Society.
The article’s not available online, only an online taster:
Dementia Care – Fear and loathing at the Alzheimer’s Society as volunteers reject the charity’s new-found “professionalisation”, saying it ignores local needs.
According to the article, volunteers who have been fundraising for years via local Alzheimer’s Society branches are now leaving to start their own breakaway groups. It would appear that the Alzheimer’s Society decided to abolish 240 branch committees, merging them into large regional centres, and the Society has apparently seized control of all the funds within those branches, and also the branch property.
If the content of the Private Eye article is accurate – and it is rare for The Eye to get it wrong! – it is shocking.
The Eye states:
In addition, some members who challenged decisions of their new managers were treated appallingly, sometimes locked out of the premises they had run for years.
One is Ernie Thompson, who started the Sunderland branch in 1987 and chaired it until it had an annual turnover of around £400,000. His reward for years of unpaid work? Changed locks and “everything ransacked and seized”, he says.
So much for charity! David Cameron must be invited to say whether this strange action on the part of a dementia charity falls within or without The Big Society.
No wonder Fund razing is Private Eye’s chosen headline.