Monday, 6 September 2010

Enter the Blogosphere

Friday 3rd September

Hi everyone, welcome to Mike’s Blog through which I want to keep you up to date with what we’ve been doing in Surrey Youth Focus, and my personal opinions on what’s affecting the voluntary community and faith sector – hereafter “THE sector”. There will also be some personal stuff from me, but not of the sort that will make the front page of the News of the World (I hope!).

To be slightly serious I am not intending to name individuals with whom I’ve had contact in the week as I need to continue to work with many colleagues in local authorities and the sector, and I don’t want to be shunned, so…your secrets are safe with me!?!

This last week has been dominated by meetings about the Connexions service, and the future contracts for the voluntary sector. As a result of the last meeting on Thursday evening with the Surrey CC’s Assistant Director for Young People and colleagues from the Surrey Youth Consortium I have an optimistic feeling that good progress can now be made.

The other theme to the week has been sending off Pqasso documents (about 35!) to the external assessor who will be visiting us on 13 October to assess whether we meet the Practical Quality Assurance for Small Organisations Level 1 standard. More on this later.

The prospect of budget cuts to Surrey Youth Focus is a concern, though we have strong reserves. I had a performance review meeting with the Surrey CC providers of our core funding, and I have had intimations that current funding levels may not be sustainable next year, though our value is not doubted.

Talking of which, we have just got another £20,000 grant from the CWDC to put together a standard Induction Programme for new workers/ volunteers into the sector. We’ll be producing and printing workbooks for new staff/ volunteers so that they can record each element of induction training received – Safeguarding, CAF etc.

We welcome Sophie who starts with us on Tuesday to work on a new Members’ Survey; her post is funded by the Future Jobs Fund (and so free to Surrey Youth Focus) and I would encourage colleagues to recruit through this scheme.

Big picture: Importance of social enterprises, social impact fund, and social return on investment – more on all these later.

Personal disclosure: brilliant week – end a few weeks ago camping with my three sons, and grandson (age 2) in Weymouth, Dorset, and seeing Toy Story in 3D. Great!

Trivial Pursuit: What’s the connection between Plato’s Cave, and The Family? (great late1960s Group). Answer next week.


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