Social enterprise eateries & catering companies

I am driven mad by having loads of meetings to discuss poor people in eateries owned by (often very) rich people. There doesn’t seem to be an easy list or map of social enterprise eateries, so I am collating a list: it will be useful to me and possibly also to you! If you know of any not listed here, please let me know (admin at giving-evidence dot com) If you’d like to turn this into some groovy map, please do.

London eateries

The Clink, restaurant in Brixton Prison. Very good food, much of it grown on the prison estate. Need to pre-book. Security procedures are, unsurprisingly, tight & a faff. The charity is entirely about getting prisoners into work and reducing re-offending.

Brigade, restaurant near London Bridge. “We help Southwark residents at risk of homelessness develop the skills and motivation to find employment.”

Places like churches (eg, the cafe under St Martin’s in the Fields, or at St Bartholomew the Great, Southwark Cathedral) and arts centres (South Bank Centre, Barbican, Almeida…) or the rentable rooms in things like National Trust properties are also public-benefit institutions.

Non-London eateries

The Clink, restaurants in prisons in Cardiff, High Down (Surrey), and Styall (Cheshire).

Catering

The various Clink restaurants also do catering.

Other

Family Foraging Kitchen CIC, an award-winning social enterprise that provides wild food education through foraging walks, cookery classes and courses in traditional countryside craft.

 

 

 

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Golden rules of public speaking

I do masses of public speaking. These are my ‘golden rules’, which might help you. (If you have other good ‘golden rules’ to add to this list, do get in touch.)

1. Assume the technology will fail

It fails more often than not, in my (pretty extensive) experience. Be prepared and able to give your talk without any of the visuals. Have enough notes and know your talk well enough that you can proceed without them.

A good idea is to ensure that there’s a flipchart handy, and that the pens work, so that you can hand-draw any charts or diagrams if necessary.

I recently had an epic fail, worse than no slides, in which the slides appeared on screen in random order(!)

 

2. Most of the audience can’t see the bottom third of your slides, so don’t put anything important there

Pretty self-explanatory. Use the bottom third (or half, if it’s a big audience in a room with a flat floor) for notes about the source of your graph or whatever: only because that should be in the materials somewhere (unless you’re inviting the assumption that you fabricated the data…)

3. Talk slowly 

More slowly than you can imagine. It’s almost impossibly to speak too slowly on stage.

The purpose of your talk is to tell people things that they don’t know. So by definition you’ll be saying things that are unfamiliar. People need time to process what you’re saying.

Hence shut up for the 30 seconds or so after you put up a new slide, so people have time to concentrate on that and interpret it. They can’t concentrate on both a new picture and new words simultaneously.

If you are speaking in your native language and there may be non-native speakers in the audience… well… think of your high school French (or whatever) and think about how slowly the speaker would have to be going for you to have a cat in hell’s chance of understanding them. Brits and Americans are particularly bad at rattling on way too fast (presumably because we so rarely have to understand other languages at full tilt). Also avoid complicated vocabulary and idioms which non-native speakers may not know.

After I’d been living in Vienna for six months, I told a Bulgarian colleague that my German had improved loads. He said “yes, and your English is much better too.”

See this.

4. Practise

This is like the best-guarded secret of public speaking. Practise. Out loud. Address the cushions in your living room. You’ll feel like an idiot at first. But you do not want the first time that you hear your talk to be when you’re in front of a big crowd. My cushions hear a lot.

My flute teacher used to say that “The difference between amateurs and professionals is that amateurs practise until they get it right. Professionals practise until they don’t get it wrong.”

I once gave a super-high pressure talk, for which I was being paid a lot. Mindful of my flute teacher’s advice, I learnt it verbatim.  A good job too: when it came to it, I was losing my voice, we had to decamp from one room to another, one prince flounced out of the room because another prince had allegedly breached some rule of etiquette (I’m not making this up). Because I’d learnt the talk, I could just ‘put the tape on’ and focus on the audience in the room – and getting the waiting staff to bring me water all the time so I could literally speak – and not worry about the content.

When I spoke at my mum’s funeral – obviously a high-risk idea – I practised my talk so well that two years later I still know it verbatim. I practised it in three churches (‘hello, my mum’s funeral is next week: do you mind if I just practice my address in your church for half an hour?’) and in my head constantly for the fortnight beforehand.

5. Think, breathe, speak

This is the central advice from RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Use that in your Q&A session – and tricky meetings.

6. The slides

Oh man. The slides. They can kill your talk.

First, think how many of the slides you’ve seen in your life you can remember. That is about the chance that any of your slides will be remembered. You can probably bin at least half of them.

Second, they’re there to serve you, you’re not there to serve them. If you don’t need a visual, have the screen blank (make a black side: a slide with a massive black box covering the whole area). See my TED talk. Then, when you need the screen again, it’s way more striking.

Third, remember that you’re talking to the audience, not to the slides. You shouldn’t need to see the slide (except instantaneously to check that it’s there): you should know what’s on it.

Malcolm Miller, the expert in the windows of Chartres cathedral, gives all his talks about them with his back to them. “In the third pane from the left, on the fourth level from the top”. But then, unlike you, he doesn’t have to check that his visuals are still there 😉

Fourth, have a slide at the end with your contact details on.

——I hope that this was helpful! ——

Since I wrote this article, various people have written with their presenting tips. They include these:

Always, but ALWAYS go to the lectern beforehand, table or wherever else you are speaking, and check:

  • the trip hazards en route – and back
  • the table or lectern height
  • ditto the mic
  • that any notes won’t fall off the lectern (and number each page if you do use notes, for when they do fall off)
  • that the lighting is OK and you will be able to see & read
  • that ideally you can see a clock
  • + test your voice in the room.

 

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Jeremy Hunt’s rubbish response to my letter about the NHS contract

In April, I wrote to my MP, Cabinet Minister Justine Greening, about the fact that there’s no evidence that the new contract being imposed on the NHS  will improve anything and some evidence that it’s discriminatory. My letter’s here.

Greening forwarded me the Health Secretary’s response – which doesn’t address any of hunt-response-1 my points about the NHS. Greening’s covering letter is here, and Hunt’s letter is here and here (sorry for it being two files…)

I have today written to Greening again, and will post here if I get a response.

 

Dear Justine,
Thanks for forwarding Jeremy Hunt’s response to my letter to you (published here) concerning what he’s doing with the NHS. And by the way, congrats on your appointment to education.
Sadly, neither your letter nor Hunt’s addresses any of my points about the NHS. Those were mainly actually points for you, rather than him, as they relate to the response of the rest of Cabinet to all this. I remain interested in your/ his response to those points. To repeat, they are:
  • Hunt claims that the new contract will improve patient outcomes (or maybe cost-effectiveness) – as does your letter to me (1 June). But we don’t know that that’s true because the contract has not been tested. Why is he allowed to dismiss the idea of testing it in a small area before imposing it across the whole system? (He might be wrong: it might make things worse!)
  • Why is he allowed to introduce a new contract which even his own department admits is discriminatory against women? (discussed in the Telegraph here). The measures he cites in his letter may be true, but they’re obviously insufficient to prevent even his own department saying that the contract is discriminatory.
  • Why is he allowed to keep mis-citing the BMJ study, claiming that it shows that the higher rate of deaths at weekends results from there being few doctors around then, when it doesn’t, and the Editor of the BMJ has publicly written to him to say that?
Your letter (1 June) talks about constituents being worried about the effect of the strike. To be clear, that is not my concern at all: I, and many other Putney residents with whom I’ve discussed this, am concerned about the effect of what they are striking about, i.e., the contract which Hunt seems bent on imposing on them despite having no evidence that it’ll improve anything.
Please send your response by email, not post: the last one got lost in the post for two months.
With thanks
Caroline
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Letter to my (Tory) MP on Jeremy Hunt and the NHS

Tomorrow sees the first walk-out by junior doctors in the NHS’ history. My MP is a member of the Cabinet (Sec of State for DFID). I sent this to her today. I urge you to write something similar to your MP. My letter references a conversation she & I had about evidence in public policy, about which you can read more here. I will publish her response to this letter when it comes.

“Dear Justine [Greening]

I hope that you are doing very well.

I write to ask why the Conservative Cabinet is allowing Jeremy Hunt to destroy the NHS.

Tomorrow’s planned strike is unprecedented. It is in opposition to a contract which he yesterday refused to pilot in a few regions and have rigorously evaluated. I’m glad that of all MPs, you are mine, because you might be able to understand the craziness of that better than most MPs: DFID seems to understand better than most departments that the answers to tricky problems are not obvious and that experiments & rigorous evaluations can help us find – indeed, are often the sole way to find – the right answers. You and I talked about how DFID funds loads of rigorous evaluations of pro-poor programmes, and syntheses of them for that reason.

Indeed the Conservative-led coalition set up various What Works Centres precisely to gather and collate experimental evidence on social policies because ‘the right answer’ is rarely obvious. Why then is a member of a Conservative Cabinet allowed to rubbish the notion of finding out empirically whether his proposed contract will improve patient outcomes?

It’s particularly ironic that he’s doing this in *health*, because health, of all fields, has seen the greatest gains in outcomes precisely because of experimentation. And Britain was the crucible of that.

Furthermore, why is he allowed to introduce a new contract which even the DoH admits is discriminatory against women? (as discussed in the Telegraph, here).

Hunt’s plan for the NHS seems to be to deal with the ‘fact’ that deaths increase at weekends. Umpteen people have pointed out that that’s nothing to do with the staffing that he seems to be trying to solve, but instead largely due to the fact that the people admitted at weekends are more ill than those admitted in the week: a ‘selection effect’ rather than a ‘treatment effect’. Radio 4’s More or Less noted this, and no less a figure than the Editor of the British Medical Journal wrote to him publicly to ask/tell him to stop misquoting their study.

It’s all the more bizarre because the basic problem in healthcare isn’t weekend deaths or doctors’ contracts, but the fact that an aging population will vastly increase health- and social-care costs, for which Hunt seems to have no plan at all.

While we’re here, why is the Education Secretary allowed to impose a governance form on all schools when that hasn’t been rigorously evaluated either?

I’m genuinely confused because I thought that Conservatism was about freedom and choice, and intelligently using evidence, and rationalism and encouraging diversity/inclusivity in the workplace – and generally avoiding intuited centrist diktats.

I’d be grateful for your view / rapid intervention. And it’s fine to reply by email: MPs weirdly normally reply by letter – an unnecessarily expensive process now almost unique to them.

Caroline Fiennes”

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Euphemisms for fundraising

For some reason, people in nonprofits often dislike to say that their job is raising money. So they use loads of euphemisms for it, many of which seem to me really weird. I’m collecting examples. Please send others!

  • Development“. This is perhaps the most frequent term. It’s bonkers because fundraisers aren’t in charge of developing the organisation: that responsibility is with the management team or board. Sometimes organisations let the direction of their development be by donors’ wishes – universities building new buildings or departments because a donor wants them are a common example – but surely that’s pretty bonkers too: how an organisation develops should be a function of what its beneficiaries/market needs and what gaps are left unserved by other providers. ‘Development’ is also really confusing in international development NGOs – everybody in those organisations works in ‘development’, so those organisations use that term to mean two completely different things.
  • Head of Philanthropy“. You may think that ‘philanthropy’ means giving money out, but nonprofits sometimes use it to mean getting money in! I really dislike fundraisers having this title as it implies that they think they’re in charge of your philanthropy. I once got approached by a fundraising foundation about it’s ‘head of philanthropy’ role, which I assumed meant ‘head of giving money out’ but in fact meant ‘head of getting money in’. The job of ‘giving money out’ was called ‘investments’: how they refer to actually investing capital before it is given out, I never discovered.
  • Institutional advancement“. This seems to be an American term, but simply reminds of Napoleonic armies…

 

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A reminder about how Twitter works

If you write a tweet which starts with @, it won’t be seen by many people.

For instance, if your tweet starts with @carolinefiennes, it will only be seen by people who follow both me and you. That may not be many people. If you want people to know that “@carolinefiennes has written a marvellous article”, you would do better to write a tweet which doesn’t start with @. For example “.@carolinefiennes has written a marvellous article” or, better, “Read this marvellous article by @carolinefiennes

Tweets which start with @ are public – they can be seen on your ‘tweets and replies’ page – but don’t get seen by many people who don’t go looking for them.

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Somebody else is engaged to Matt Ridley!

Polyvore is reporting the engagement of ‘Hon. Caroline Fiennes and Hon. Matthew White Ridley’. Congratulations to them!

However, please know that that is not me. In fact, we’ve no idea who it is: I know of three Caroline Fiennes’es, none of whom is engaged to Matt Ridley and nobody in our family knows of a titled Caroline Fiennes. Furthermore, father, son and grandfather in the Ridley family are/were all called  Matthew: the use of the ‘Hon.’ for the Matthew here implies that it refers to the son of Lord (Matt) Ridley, the science writer and former chairman of Northern Rock.

The joys of big families. On which note, here is a random photo of Ralph and me:

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The variable value of £50

I have been looking through the catalogue for spending airmile-type points from the airline Etihad. Alongside the various objects and experiences are vouchers at various retailers. Strikingly, the price (in points) of a £50 voucher varies between retailers – pretty substantially. Money at Harrods costs over an eighth more than it does at Goldsmith, a high street jeweller. I thought that kind of funny because ostensibly £50 is worth the same anywhere.

I’ve long hated vouchers. They’re a way of giving people money but destroying much of the value – choice – therein. At best they’re an interest-free loan to the retailer; at worst you lose them and it’s a donation to the retailer.

Here’s the range of ‘prices’ for £50 vouchers on Etihad’s airmiles programme (i.e. a £50 Harrods voucher costs 11,815 points):

11,815 Harrods, £50
11,802 Selfridges, £50
11,720 Marks & Spencer, £50
11,531 Boots, £50
10,739 Interflora, £50
10,490 Goldsmith, £50
3,222 iTunes, £15
10,740 iTunes, £50 (equivalent)
Variance in cost of £50 vouchers
12.6%

Even money is more expensive at Harrods. Funny old game. Gotta love classical economics…

 

 

 

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Family news

A member of our family, James Fiennes, was recently fatally stabbed in London. Obviously this is truly dreadful news. James’ wife is called Caroline – that is, Caroline Fiennes. However she is not me: she does not work with charities or philanthropy – as misreported in The Telegraph and Daily Mail. (Neither is she the other Caroline Fiennes, Ralph & Joseph’s step-mother).

Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with Caroline and her family.

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The trouble with Nobel Prizes

… is that they don’t go where you’d think they should go.

Nobel 2Badly-organised prizes are characterised by rewarding people who nobody thinks should be rewarded. A good example is elections which are obviously rigged: nobody believes that the ‘winner’ should have won.

Well-organised prizes recognise precisely the people they should recognise. The Venn diagram is like this. The Wimbledon Championships this year is a good example: everybody thinks Nobel 1 that Marion Bartoli and Andy Murray should have received the singles prizes this year, because they got to the finals and won. No negotiation, no subjective judgement, no disagreement. Though you might think it was kind of weird that so many top women flunked out making Bartoli’s path strangely easy (she didn’t play any top 10 player all tournament), nobody disputes her prize. Royalty is another example: there’s no debate about who gets the crown, irrespective of any discontent about the rules of succession or indeed the whole monarchy system itself.

In Nobel Prizes, the overlap between the circles seems uncomfortably small. The group of people who ought to get it and who do get it – the intersection – includes the International Red Cross (Peace), Crick & Watson for discovering DNA (Medicine) and so on.  But there seem to be many recipients who don’t obviously merit it, such as President Obama in his first year in office, and the European Union. Since literary genius and contribution is often contested, I imagine that many literature prizes are controversial. Nobel 3On the other side of the Venn diagram, there are many people and organisations who one thinks should get it but don’t. The physicist Jocelyn Bell is perhaps the best example: her discovery of pulsars landed Nobel Prizes for her two (male) supervisors but not for her. (She’s still alive, so it’s not too late for the Nobel Committee to correct.) Einstein never got one for relativity – arguably the greatest achievement of the human mind – despite empirical evidence (a prerequisite for the Prize) during his lifetime. Another example might be physicist Peter Higgs for his accurate prediction of the particle which bears his name. It’s possible that that Higgs is ineligible because his predication resulted from a collaboration between many people and the Prize can be shared by no more than three people, though it could be awarded to CERN, for finding the particle, because organisations can receive it.

A further problem is the list of subjects. It excludes maths or anything related to technology, yet includes peace and literature which are unavoidably subjective and hence controversial. To see the limitations, try to figure out in which category could recognise Tim Berners-Lee’s invention of the internet, or contributions to international poverty alleviation.

Such developments are perhaps the real dynamite of our time.

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