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December 2008 - January 2009

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Dispatches & Reports


Advisory Services and 'Donor Advised Fund'

Coutts & Co today announces a new pilot for philanthropists. For the first time, Coutts clients will have access to a Microfinance Advisory Service to provide specific knowledge and insight into organisations within the microfinance sector to help them decide how to maximise the impact of their giving. Clients will also benefit from a new Microfinance Donor Adviser Fund, giving them the opportunity to collaborate with each other and increase the impact of their donations by pooling funds together.


Today's commercial banking solutions are beyond the reach of most of the world's three billion poor who often have no choice but to approach informal and often exploitative money lenders. Hence the growth of microfinance: small scale financial services, including loans, savings and insurance. The approach was first attributed to Nobel Prize Winner Dr Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh in 1976, but with now over 3,000 Microfinance Institutions (MFI) and of varying size and quality, and little guidance, it is becoming increasingly difficult for individual donors to make informed decisions on how they can positively impact the world's poor.

Coutts Microfinance Advisory Service

In addition to receiving assistance from Coutts Philanthropy Specialists on creating a giving strategy, clients can contact the independent Microfinance Advisory Panel. Clients will also have access to written reports on microfinance and microfinance organisations that the Panel have prepared.

Coutts Microfinance Donor Adviser Fund

The Donor Advised Fund is not an investment scheme. It is a collection of irrevocable donations administered by the Charities Aid Foundation and intended for distribution, in entirety and at the direction of the Donors, to organisations with charitable purposes. Donors to the Fund will contribute a minimum donation of £10,000 and will benefit from collaborating with other philanthropists in pooling funds and directing donations to make an even bigger impact.

Mark Evans, Head of Philanthropy at Coutts & Co commented "Giving to charity is a personal act of generosity, so its only natural that Coutts clients should desire a greater involvement in how they select and support the recipients of their charitable investments. The Coutts Microfinance Pilot is a first step to providing real guidance aimed at high net worth donors in particular who want to give poor people the chance to earn their way out of poverty."

"It is just as important when making a social investment as making a financial investment to know as much as you can about a charitable organisation and its field of work when making a contribution." Said Maya Prabhu, Coutts Senior Philanthropy Adviser.

"To kick off this pilot, Coutts are hosting two dinners which clients and philanthropists interested in these schemes are welcome to attend. The first dinner on the subject of microfinance, specifically was last night, 16th September. Private clients interested in attending the next dinner can contact Sarah Moriarty on 020 7649 4054."

Through its philanthropy specialists, Coutts offers specific knowledge and insights to help guide clients in creating an effective giving strategy, conducting market research, getting professional advice, evaluating projects and creating a portfolio of charitable interests. Coutts is also committed to providing donors/philanthropists with networking and educational opportunities through the Coutts Forums for Philanthropy.


‘I am delighted to send my good wishes to all those in Britain and around the world who will be celebrating Diwali over the coming days.

  Diwali is of particular significance to many from the South Asian communities in the UK.  The contribution of these communities to British society is immense. In a world where distance matters less and less, Britain’s diversity is a huge asset. The festival of Diwali, which is about togetherness, warmth and happiness, is a good moment for us to celebrate our diversity and the benefits it brings.

  Diwali also signifies the victory of good over evil, and is a time to dispel darkness and bring in light.  At a time of great global challenges, this message of hope is particularly relevant -  to people of all faiths.

  As you celebrate the joys of life with your families during this festival of light, I wish you all a happy Diwali.’


The CEO of Little Chef Ian Pegler has called the lock out from the Olympic Games for small to medium size British Businesses as “ludicrous“.

Only a handful of large organisations such as British Airways, BT, BP, Adidas, EDF Energy, Nortel, Lloyds TSB are being permitted to use the London 2012logo and Olympic rings to show their support the Games through so-called first and second tier sponsorship, whilst the majority of British businesses have been prevented from any direct association with the games. The IOC’s global sponsors include Samsung, McDonalds, Adidas and Coca-Cola.

Ian Pegler says, “This is supposed to be Britain’s finest hour, but British business is not permitted any direct association with the Games.“

“After all it is our Olympics. So we are now where we are, being offered naming rights to venues post Olympics because there is a short fall, but without the use of the Olympic rings or logo.”

“Why would we donate our hard earned cash without the use of these logos within our business when it won’t show our customers that we care about this momentous event and the success of our athletes? The organisers need to get real. Little Chef would love to be a sponsor of the London Olympics.”

There is still a shortfall of £59m which requires private funding. The government through Andy Burnham’s ‘Medal Hopes’ scheme has hoped to raise funds by selling off post-2012 naming rights of Olympic venues and asking star atheletes to promote corporate backers, whilst stopping short of allowing backers to be able to mention their association with the Olympics or use the logo. But now even the naming rights idea has upset the London Games’ Organising Committee and the British Olympic Association (BOA).

The British Curry Awards

Jon Culshaw & Brian (MD Kingfisher Beer), Chef Heston Bluemental

The British Curry Awards, which is now in its third consecutive year, is recognised as the spice Industry's premier networking event held to recognise, congratulate and honour the contribution and extraordinary achievements of British Asian restaurateurs, who play a significant role in contributing to the nation’s economy and wealth. Hosted by Jon Culshaw, more than 1000 VIPs and celebrity guests attended the star-studded event consisting of a host of curry and restaurant aficionados, celebrity chefs, mainstream and Asian celebrities, public figures, MPs and other high profile dignitaries. The event, which is the ‘Curry’ industry event of the year, provided a platform for industry leaders and food critics to rub shoulders with each other catch up on the latest trends and enjoy great food.

The UK’s Indian restaurant industry generates a staggering £3.2 billion and is an integral part of the British Asian community. STAR TV’s partnership with the event reaffirms their longstanding commitment towards the community and the network consistently embraces an enormous range of top quality entertainment shows, community and current affairs, and ground-breaking news and sports report, reflecting their programming tastes.

2nd October – International Day of Non-Violence observed in the UK

On the occasion of the 139th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, which was also the Second International Day of Non-violence, a function was jointly organised by the Indian High Commission, London, and the India League at Tavistock Square in Central London on October 2, 2008.

The High Commissioner of India, Mr. Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, Deputy Mayor of Camden Council, Councillor Omar Faruque Ansari, senior members of the India League, President of the Overseas Indian Congress, Mr. Balwant Kapoor and members of the media paid floral tributes to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.

Speaking on the occasion, High Commissioner Mr. Shiv Shankar Mukherjee dwelt on the teachings of the apostle of peace and non-violence - Mahatma Gandhi - and how the principles of non-violence were practised by Mr. Nelson Mandela to transform the South African society.

He also impressed that the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi are still relevant to the society and called on the people to follow the path of non-violence.

Paying tributes, the Deputy Mayor Camden Council said that they were very fortunate to have the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the vicinity of the Council. He added that he and his colleagues in Council draw inspiration from the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.

In the evening, a programme to celebrate Second International Day of Non-violence was organised by the Nehru Centre, Cultural Wing of the High Commission of India. Prof. Lord Bhikhu Parekh, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the Academy of the Learned Societies for Social Sciences and a Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Westminster, delivered a talk on “International Day of Non Violence – Is Gandhi Still Relevant?” The talk was followed by screening of a short film ‘Does Gandhi Matter?’ and singing of Bhajans. The High Commissioner of India, Mr. Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, other members of the High Commission and the general public were also present on the occasion.

The High Commission of India also brought out a special issue of ‘India Digest’ dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of the Second International Day of Non-violence.

International Day of Non-Violence observed in Edinburgh

The International Day of Non-Violence was observed in Edinburgh on October 2nd 2008 at Saughton Park, Winter Garden. The solemn public function to mark the occasion and pay homage to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, an apostle of non-violence and peace, was organized by the Consulate General of India in cooperation with Scottish Indian Arts Forum. The venue of the function was the Bust of Mahatma Gandhi installed and inaugurated in the Garden on October 25th 1997, by former Prime Minster of India, Inder Kumar Gujral and former Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Eric Milligan (who was also present at the function).

Rt Hon’ble Bruce Crawford, Scottish Minister for Parliamentary Business, was the Chief Guest at the function. Hon’ble Minister and Consul General Ramesh Chander garlanded the bust of Mahatma Gandhi, adoring the Saughton Park Winter Garden and paid floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi. Speaking at the occasion Minister Crawford said “Non-Violence is a principle as relevant today as it was during Gandhi’s life-time.” He added that the bust of Mahatma Gandhi at Saughton Park “is an excellent representation of the mutual respect between Scotland and India, the continuing relevance of the philosophy of Non-Violence for both our countries and a reminder of Gandhi’s teachings for generations of Scots to come.” Consul General Ramesh Chander in his brief speech paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi and thanked the international community for declaring this day as the International Day of Non-Violence. He added “It is a befitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi – the apostle of non-violence.”

The solemn function started with prayers and recital of devotional music by Panchali Bari and Anshul Tomar. Professor Crispin Bates, Director, Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh, read excerpts from Mahatma Gandhi’s writings with a focus on non-violence. Mohindra Dhall, President of Scottish Indian Arts Forum concluded the function with the chanting of the Gayatri Mantra invoking all-round peace.

The Day was also celebrated in Dundee at the Bharatiya Ashram. The local Councils of Lanarkshire and Falkirk, it has been informed, have decided to celebrated the Day appropriately by way of functions in schools under their jurisdiction.

Rt Hon’ble Minister for Parliamentary Business Bruce Crawford and Consul General of India Ramesh Chander paying floral tributes at the Bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Edinburgh on 2 October 2008)


War heroes from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Africa and Caribbean honoured at sixth annual Memorial Gates remembrance event

London UK – The Memorial Gates Commemorative Committee held its sixth annual wreath laying ceremony onFriday 7th November at the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill. Around 250 people attended to honour and remember the five million men and women from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Caribbean who volunteered to serve with the British Armed Forces during the First and Second World Wars.

A moving service was led by The Bishop of London – the Rt. Revd. & Rt. Hon. Richard Chartres, Baroness Flather and Lord Bilimoria, Patron and Chairman of the Memorial Gates Committee respectively, each of whom made speeches to the congregation. Baroness Flather spoke first and chose to pay a special tribute to the many people involved in establishing the Memorial Gates singling out architect Liam O’Connor for particular acclaim.

Lord Bilimoria then said: “We are gathered here to remember the sacrifice, the courage and the contribution of remarkable men and women. In the name of freedom – in the name of our freedom – they made the ultimate and most selfless sacrifice. For that we join today in remembrance and gratitude.” He went on to quote from Angela Morgan’s poem about the ‘unknown soldier’.

The Bishop of London concluded saying: “We live in a society where we have been mortgaging our children’s tomorrow to fund our today. And this occasion is one to reflect on a different way of living – a way of living which gives our tomorrow for our children’s today. An occasion to honour the veterans of the wars, who endured much, and in doing so gave a gift, a gift of freedom to our children.”

Among the distinguished list of guests in attendance was Tulbahadur Pun VC, Johnson Bahari VC, Viscount Slim, Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat; Councillor Louise Hyams, Lord Mayor of Westminster; Sir Paul Stephenson, Deputy Commissioner for London Metropolitan Police; H.E. Mr Basil O’Brien CMG, High Commissioner of the Bahamas; H.E. Hugh Anthony Arthur, High Commissioner of Barbados; H.E. Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, High Commissioner of India; H.E. Shafi U Ahmed, High Commissioner of Bangladesh; H.E. Hon Burchell Whiteman, High Commissioner of Jamaica; Brigadier General Belal Uddin Mahmood, Defence Adviser, Bangladesh High Commission; The Rt. Hon. Bob Ainsworth MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces; Field Marshall the Rt Hon The Lord Inge; General the Lord Ramsbotham; Lord Bhatia; Professor the Lord Desai; Baroness D’Souza; Baroness Uddin; Baroness Verma; as well as the many veterans and cadets who attend each year.

New RSA Academy opens in Midlands with the help of Lord Swraj Paul

Lord Swraj Paul’s charitable trust, the Ambika Paul Foundation, has been working in collaboration with the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), on a new Academy school, opened by His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh at Tipton in the West Midlands.

The Ambika Paul Learning Resource Centre, which has been sponsored by the Ambika Paul Foundation, contains a library, IT equipment, a meeting room and video conferencing facilities.

After unveiling a plaque to celebrate the opening of the Academy, His Royal Highness then took a tour of the school before meeting guests parents and pupils over lunch. Lord Paul’s son Hon. Akash Paul and daughter Hon. Anjli Paul attended on behalf of the Paul family. In a joint statement, Akash and Anjli said: “The Paul family is very keen on education so it is a great pleasure for us to be involved with this project in the West Midlands where our company, Caparo, employs some 3,500 people and our father, Lord Paul, is also Chancellor of Wolverhampton University.

The RSA Academy at Tipton is leading the way in developing the RSA’s innovative curriculum framework ‘Opening Minds’ in which young peopleare encouraged to develop life skills. These cover five main areas: citizenship, learning, managing information, managing situations and relating to people.

School using the Opening Minds curriculum have reported increased motivation levels, greater engagement and enjoyment in learning and higher self esteem.

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