It’s a pleasure to be with you to celebrate the inaugural year of Giving Tuesday in the UK.
Since becoming Minister for Civil Society, I have been privileged to see first-hand the fantastic work of charities, community groups, businesses and so many others, going above and beyond the call of duty in their efforts to help people in need.
This kind of work goes on across the country, day-in, day-out, as often unsung heroes do their best to make a difference. So why is Giving Tuesday special?
Perhaps because in its first year, over 800 partners signed up to support it, from major businesses to charities both national and local. Or because on the day we saw a 270% increase in donations compared to the same day in 2013.
If that can happen in the first year alone, imagine what can be achieved in the second, the third or even the tenth?
I’m here today to thank you for your role in making the UK launch such a success.
Thank you to Henry Timms for his inspiring initiative and for his tireless efforts to make Giving Tuesday the global success that it is in such a short space of time. Thank you to the Charities Aid Foundation for bringing Giving Tuesday to our shores. And thank you to all of you, the Giving Tuesday partners, for embracing a new idea and making the day such a success.
I am truly excited about Giving Tuesday’s potential here in the UK, because we are a nation that already believes in good works and charity.
The UK Charitable Context
Across the country, people never fail to dig deep into their pockets or to give their time and skills to help others. And the benefits of doing so are immense.
Social action can play such a powerful role in helping our society to tackle some of the challenges we face, from helping young people to reach their potential to supporting older people to stay healthy.
And it can have huge benefits on the skills, wellbeing and confidence of those who participate. For young people alone, new research shows that taking part in social action improves their empathy, problem solving, cooperation, grit and sense of community.
As a government we have worked hard to support projects that mobilise this energy and capability and to encourage even more people to join in.
We have created schemes such as the National Citizen Service, the fastest growing youth movement for a century, now with over 130,000 graduates since 2011.
We have devolved power and resources so communities can take action on the things that matter most to them.
We have recruited and trained thousands of community organisers and enabled volunteer-led panels to allocate over £27 million of government funding to over 18,000 local projects. Communities have matched this with over £94 million worth of cash, volunteer time and in-kind contributions.
And we have created a Centre for Social Action, which is supporting 215 projects that are harnessing social action and complementing public services. Our task now is to spread and scale these projects.
In the next few days, the Office for Civil Society will share on GOV.UK a discussion paper that showcases the inspiring role social action can play. We’ve got some copies here today too and I’d encourage you to read it and send us your views.
Giving Tuesday: successes so far
Last year, over 3 million more adults volunteered compared to 2009 to 2010 and over 1 million more people donated to good causes. This is something to be cherished, celebrated and encouraged. Because we want to see a bigger, stronger society.
And that is exactly what Giving Tuesday gives us the opportunity to do and it’s why we signed up as a founding partner. I’m proud that we played our part.
Last year I took the opportunity to visit 2 fantastic organisations that highlight what we mean by a big society. In the morning I made a visit to the Microsoft offices in Reading where I met Connect Reading, a local partnership between the private, public, voluntary and community sectors that work together to address areas of need within my constituency.
I then headed to see Rosie’s Rainbow Fund at John Radcliffe Children’s Hospital, where I awarded Carolyn Mayling the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers. It was a real privilege to see the difference Carolyn and her team make to the children and their families during an otherwise very difficult time. I hope you enjoyed hearing from Rosie’s Rainbow Fund during the best practice session this morning.
And on the same day: the Prime Minister announced a £50,000 grant to the Text Santa charities to encourage volunteering and donations; part of a Cabinet meeting was devoted to turning ministers into Dementia Friends. At a Giving Reception at the London Stock Exchange, I announced an additional £2 million of funding to the Endowment Match Challenge, which will provide funding for causes in local communities for generations to come.
Giving Tuesday has had some really significant successes so far. From #GivingTuesday trending on Twitter last year to the spike in donations I mentioned earlier, it’s clear it is already striking a chord with the nation.
It shows that great things are possible when so many work together and it inspires others to take part, creating a bigger, stronger and fairer society.
I’m looking forward to seeing how Giving Tuesday, so powerful in its mission, can touch the hearts of even more people this year. Thank you.