Fringe Box



Guildford Receives Charitable Donation From Its New Partner Dongying, China

Published on: 24 Oct, 2017
Updated on: 26 Oct, 2017

The meeting between the GBC delegation (left) and their counterparts in Dongying during  which the partnership agreement was signed.

Guildford’s new partner Dongying, China is making a donation of £5,660 to a Guildford charity in the wake of GBC’s recent visit to Dongying during which a partnership deal was signed.

In a press release a GBC spokesperson said: “Following on from our new partnership agreement, as a gesture of goodwill, the Dongying Municipal Government has confirmed that it would like to donate £5,660 to Guildford Philanthropy.”

The proposal to partner with Dongying provoked an unusual rebellion amongst the normally loyal Tory group at Millmead earlier this month (October, 2017) when it was debated just days before the visit commenced.

Six Conservatives voted for an amendment proposed by Cllr Tony Rooth (Con, Pilgrims) a former council leader, that would have restricted the GBC delegation’s trip to a fact finding mission but the vote was lost by 26 votes to 20.

Cllr Paul Spooner

Council Leader Paul Spooner (Con, Ash South & Tongham) is quoted in the press release saying: “One of the key purposes of our borough’s partnership agreement with Dongying in China is to enhance the understanding and friendship between our places and people. It is great to see this initial positive outcome and goodwill gesture so soon after our visit.

“Their £5,660 donation to Guildford Philanthropy’s fund will assist projects that help improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable and less-advantaged residents.

“As with all individual or business donations, this will be match-funded by the council to boost the impact for local people and social enterprise. I would like to thank everyone involved and hope this marks the start of a very successful partnership that benefits and strengthens our community as well as our new international relationship.”

The amount £5,660 pounds is exactly the amount offered to GBC by the Dongying Municipal Government to offset the travel costs of their visit to Dongying. The council voted overwhelmingly to decline the offer.

Recipients of the donation Guildford Philanthropy is a collaborative partnership set up in 2013 between Guildford Borough Council and the Community Foundation for Surrey. The foundation helped to develop the scheme and manages the income and grants.

Chairman of Guildford Philanthropy, Peter Cluff, said: “I would also like to thank the people of Dongying for their donation to Guildford Philanthropy. Every pound helps to build a community fund that can turn ideas into successful social enterprises and give local people the resources they need to get their ventures off the ground.

“We also want to encourage local residents and business people to be part of this initiative, bringing their knowledge and funding to help their community.”

According to the statistics site Statista, based in Germany, the United Kingdom, in wealth per capita terms, is the eighth wealthiest country in the world and China the 57th.

In 2016, the average wealth per capita in the UK is £220,000 while in China it is around £17,000.

Gordon Bridger

Hon Alderman Gordon Bridger reacted to the announcement this evening (October 24): “Is this a joke? One of the wealthiest communities in Britain receiving charity from one of the poorer countries in the world.”

“Perhaps they felt sorry for us because our delegation was sent out economy class?

“It should be embarrassing receiving charity for poor people in Guildford who are   far richer than poor people in China from whom this aid comes. It is a situation  which should have been avoided and which could make us a laughing stock.“

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Responses to Guildford Receives Charitable Donation From Its New Partner Dongying, China

  1. John Fox Reply

    October 25, 2017 at 6:32 am

    Beware the man who comes bearing gifts and invoking flattering words.

  2. Juliet Miller Hills Reply

    October 25, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    I agree with John Fox. China is taking over many African countries with their “philanthropy” and business incursions. Guildford people can take care of their own needy.

    International understanding doesn’t have to involve money at all. If it’s about people let the people do the interacting. Be warned – this will have hidden costs.

    Perhaps Guildford should send money to China to match the gesture by helping needy Chinese minorities.

  3. Jules Cranwell Reply

    October 25, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    This is scandalous, given the council voted against accepting the same amount to subsidise the trip to Dongying. This is more proof that democracy is dead in Guildford.

    To accept funds from a country with a massively higher issue with poverty is humiliating.

  4. Sue Fox Reply

    October 26, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    For once, I completely agree with Gordon Bridger and all other respondents. Perhaps the money should be donated to Amnesty for their work in China.

    The borough council seems determined to star in the list of rotten boroughs in Private Eye.

  5. John Robinson Reply

    October 27, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Surely that donation barely covers the cost of the trip by GBC to China in the first place? How embarrassing is this? Our ‘officials’ travel to China to accept charity from them – the Chinese representatives must think Guildford is really in dire need? As a country, the U.K. has one of the biggest overseas aid budgets, so why do we need to do this?

  6. A Atkinson Reply

    October 27, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Hear comes the money from China to make Guildford Borough something is should never be, a suburb of London and Aldershot.

    This council is going to ruin Guildford, for what, money and ego.

  7. Stuart Barnes Reply

    October 27, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Perhaps the money should be sent back to Communist China to support those brave souls there fighting for a modicum of freedom?

    What a disgrace that our so-called Conservative council could accept money from such a source.

    The comment by Peter Cluff thanking the people of Dongying for their “donation” I presume is meant to be a joke? As if the “people” have any say in what goes on.

  8. David Roberts Reply

    October 27, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    The council need to be very, very careful about acting, or even appearing to act, as any sort of channel for this donation. If individuals or bodies – whether British or foreign – genuinely want to give to Guildford charities, they can do so directly and anonymously, without expecting anything in return.

    If you include the administrative time involved, a lot more than £5,660 of taxpayers’ money was wasted on the visit to Dongying. The council could have paid this to Guildford Philanthropy themselves, without getting into this ethical morass.

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