The festive period is fast approaching, and we are all looking forward to some well-earned rest and relaxation with our families at this special time. For military personnel and service families, time spent together is even more precious. Many military families have been separated for months, and reconnection as a family unit is a real necessity.
Already in Britain, eight out of 10 people have participated in some kind of charitable giving this year, and it is estimated that the UK will have donated more than £10.6billion to charity by the end of 2015. But how many of us know with any real certainty where our money is going, or how many people will actually see the benefit?
If we care about children's safety, it is time we focused scarce resources on preventing abuse - by better protecting children and by helping those with the potential to offend to lead good lives. Such an approach is better for children, better for families and better for those with the potential to do children harm. It is also better for the public purse. Child sexual abuse is preventable. It is not inevitable.
These people can be of any age, ethnicity or gender. They always put someone else's needs and welfare before their own, often without recognition or praise. Many have little chance to socialise, which can lead to isolation; and they have an overwhelming sense of responsibility. Who am I talking about? The UK's 'hidden workforce' of unpaid carers.
Imagine you have been shortlisted for a job interview; it's the job you have set your heart on and one which potentially opens the door to your dream career. You have researched the company, re-read your CV, ironed your shirt and polished your shoes. Knowing that this could be a turning point, you would turn up for the interview, right?
George Osborne isn't the first politician to covert the lottery millions. Rumours have circulated regularly, some well evidenced, but in the end no more than rumours. The Chancellor must understand, as have his predecessors, the unique and irreplaceable valuable of a substantial fund that meets need and unleashes potential in communities throughout the UK. The Big Lottery Fund is at the heart of our common wealth. It is not your money, Mr Osborne.