Last Friday saw the launch of an important report- “Surrey’s Bigger Society” – on behalf of the Community Foundation, Surrey. The event was held at the Lightbox (civic museum) in Woking, and was by invitation. It was chaired by Mathew Bowcock in his capacity as a Chairman of the Community Foundation Network nationally.
The launch was preceded by a totally brilliant performance by young people from Peer Productions of an extract from their latest play about Alcohol. It took the form of a musical contrasting the perspective of doctors and nurses in dealing with the drunk and damaged, and those who started off wanting a “good night out”. The production, acting and singing were all terrific.
This then led into the launch of Helen’s report (following her previous “Hidden Surrey”). The new report emphasises the relevance of social finance and social enterprises. I was asked to give a short talk about our work on social finance projects with Surrey CC. Other speakers suggested that Surrey, of all places, is extremely well placed to take a lead in promoting social finance as there are so many people living in Surrey with the top level and financial skills, and indeed investment capacity. Lord Nat Wei was present, and I was able to have a chat with him, and others. The Chairman of the County Council, Lavinia Sealey was clearly impressed by all she had heard, and there was a collective sense of the need for a continuing dialogue between social philanthropists, the voluntary sector, and local authorities. It was an exciting time.
The sense of significant change has continued this week with a meeting of my chairman and that of Surrey Community Action to agree a Memorandum of Understanding about remaining independent but collaborating together, so, in effect forming a loose network together. I absolutely think this is the way forward for smaller organizations (and “organizations as networks” was the subject of my M.Phil. from back in 2000). This collaboration is leading to further thoughts about the leadership of the sector, about which more later….Exciting times!!
Personal disclosure: Yippee grandson for the week – end, such fun!! Manchester United to win on Saturday…hopefully!