Before my month away from the tipple, I was very self-aware about how young and immature I was. Now I feel as though I am actually an adult. Someone who can have one drink and mean one, who can have a diet Coke instead of a shot of vodka at a busy venue, who doesn't feel obliged to stay out if in fact they want to go home.
Since setting off in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge nearly seven weeks ago, we have been rowing continuously in two-hour shifts - essentially our lives have been Eat. Sleep. Row. Repeat. for almost two months. The only time this ceased was when a violent storm during the first ten days of the crossing meant we were unable to row at all.
We are suffering from a lack of leadership, something the Victorians had in spades. By failing to give significantly, the new rich are failing to set an example and inspire those who will follow them. Government makes noises about encouraging more philanthropy but most politicians follow focus groups rather offer leadership...
f I was paid what I was really worth, in relation to my peers as well as my expertise and experience, I would be on a six figure salary and living very comfortably indeed. But as an self-employed disability issues trouble shooter, prepared to tackle the issues no one else can, I have found it very difficult to be taken seriously, yet alone be paid.
If the Lobbying Bill comes into effect without an exemption for charities, we believe the UK will damage its reputation for advancing civic freedoms and undermine the nation's "soft power" as a consequence. We have long been admired globally for our enabling environment for civil society organisations, but this Bill would see us following regressive international trends in the relationship between governments and civil society.
The world looked on in horror as a massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on 12 January 2010. More than 200,000 people were killed in the capital alone, along with countless thousands of animals, including beloved pets and vitally important livestock. Just 72 hours later, the WSPA, rushed to aid the animals of the devastated nation...
Having already witnessed the impact of the Israel-Palestine conflict during volunteering trips whilst studying for her degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Sophie explains how she was struck by its effects on everyday life for citizens; rigorous and humiliating searches at road checkpoints, for example, turning 10 minute into an hour.
The highest form of charity, argued the 12th-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides, is when the help given enables the receiver to become self- sufficient. But our systems of state charity - aka welfare - have too frequently had the opposite effect: they have actually created dependency. It is time to re-think the way we help people.
As anyone who has seen Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol will know, the moral of the tale is that Ebenezer Scrooge is so besotted by wealth that he has, until visited by the 'ghosts' of Christmas, no sympathy for those unable to fend for themselves... Perhaps we should hope that something similar happens to Iain Duncan Smith
I recently went to a talk by a psychologist on how to parent teenagers... she said that kids today have never had a greater sense of their rights and entitlements. Correct. On the other hand, she said, they've never had less sense of their responsibilities. Also correct. Now the gift of a goat for someone in Sierra Leone or reading lessons for a kid in Kenya isn't going to change any of that, but it will do no harm, and it'll do nothing but good for those who receive these gifts in far-off places of which our kids know little. And these gifts really do make a difference. Trust me, I went to Guatemala and El Salvador with the charity Cafod to see it with my own eyes.
'Tis the season of being generous, and so we hop to the High Street and stress over presents or punch in credit card details online, enticed by 'now-or-never' deals. In this pre-Christmas rush it is easy to focus too much on ticking the boxes and lose the bigger picture of gratitude, kindness and the art of giving back.