The National Trust have released a free mobile phone app called Soho Stories and aimed at those who like strolling through the rural landscapes of London WC2.

Narrated by Barry Cryer it features references to places where Soho celeb Geoffrey Barnard was jolly tired and emotional, where Courtney Love reportedly discovered some Sapphic tastes and the bar at the Grouco Club where Damien Hirst, apparently, in the interests of art of course, would artfully show everyone his membership, one item he did not cut in half and mount in formaldehyde.

Unmissable, we’d say………


Those charity event organisers who like to support charity-owned venues and those with charitable objectives might like to know about one in Leeds and one in Liverpool, both non-residential.

o Northern Ballet is a modern and fully-accessible venue located in Leed’s Cultural Quarter with impressive views over the city. This offers a 230-seat theatre, which can also accommodate 270 for a reception or 200 cabaret-style, six studio areas for 120 theatre-style and one for 80, a meeting room for 30 which is divisible into two, a board suite for 24 boardroom-style divisible into two and two green rooms accommodating 80 for a reception or 60 for a dinner. 

Tel: 0113 220 8000 email: [email protected] visit: www.northernballet.com

o The Gateway Centre in Liverpool, located five minutes from Lime Street station, especially supports disability charities and offers three meetings suites for 38/40/65 theatre-style, five smaller rooms for up to ten boardroom style and a fully equipped 16 workstation ICT training suite. All rooms are air-conditioned, fully-accessible and with a range of AV presentation equipment 

Tel:0151 238 3200 email:[email protected] visit:www.thegatewaycentre.org


One important issue covered recently by Ethical Consumer magazine was that of charities accepting sponsorship money and other support from arguably inappropriate sources.

Cited were examples such as the acceptance of money from Sainsbury’s, which markets a breast milk substitute, by the National Childbirth Trust in 1997, a decision that caused 70 of the trust’s breastfeeding counsellors to quit in disgust and set up their own Breastfeeding Network. Also featured was the National Obesity Forum, which more recently pocketed £50,000 from Coca Cola, despite criticising the government for accepting money from junk food firms to pay for public health campaigns. Continue reading


The National Trust is currently lobbying the government, and their 3.6 million members, to ensure that proposed changes to planning rules do not result in unchecked housing development on green belt land.

The National Trust is also going ahead, according to Private Eye, with the “Cliveden Village” housing development of its own on its Cliveden Estate in leafy Buckinghamshire, on land that was donated to the Trust by Lord Astor with the stipulation that it was never turned into a “speculator’s building estate”.


The National Trust, the UK’s largest and richest charity with 74 million visitors a year has fought off a legal claim for compensation of £300,000 after an 11 year old boy was killed and three others injured, one now using a wheel-chair, by a two ton, 70 foot tree branch that broke off and fell on them during a school visit to Felbrigg Hall, near Cromer, Norfolk four years ago.

The High Court found that the National Trust were not legally liable for the accident.

It is, of course, open to the very rich Trust to do what many feel would be the decent thing, rather than the legal thing ,and pay the above amount, which for them would be a very small sum of money, without admitting liability. When you lose the hearts and minds of donors and potential donors a small victory in court can become a very large loss in the marketplace.