Friday, 12 August 2011


Hi everyone

Hope you’re still there after my two weeks in SW France, near Albi/ Toulouse. It was very relaxing and restorative, just what a holiday should be.

I returned on Monday to a massively fluctuating Stock Market and Bond market; UK manufacturing flatlined; a down -grading of the UK growth forecast; the shooting of Mark Duggan last Thursday, 4 Aug, and the riots and looting last weekend and in the early part of this week. Unremitting bad news.  A spark of hope lies in the response of local communities in the “broom army” clearing up, and the massively dignified and significant appeal for calm by Mr. Taraq Jahan whose son was one of the three men knocked down and killed in the hit and run car attack.

Mercifully in Surrey we escaped all this, but it remains shocking, and challenging.

I have been focused on catching up on emails and the backlog, but had a great meeting on Thursday about devising a bid for a HUB, whereby in Stage 1, NEET young people would register on a website and we would then take control of their journey into a short course to raise self-esteem, confidence and skills, and thence into volunteering, training and employment. In Stage 2 of the project we want to enable young people to set up social enterprise/become self employed…and run the HUB as a social enterprise itself. This work is in collaboration with Surrey Care Trust and Surrey (Furniture) Re-use network- itself a social enterprise – and we are heading for a Reaching Communities bid.

I am totally convinced it is this sort of initiative that will make a difference to the lives of young people who may be at the margins of society. Part of my holiday reading was a brilliant book by Andrew Mawson called “Social Entrepreneur” – his story (see Google) is amazing and inspirational. Short version….things happen locally, organically (not through government) through brilliant, ordinary people…government should invest in what has been proven to work. Recommended reading.

And so I end on a positive….lots more to say next week: the newly published Oftsed review of commissioning in 12 areas including Surrey, the Transforming Local Infrastructure bid in Surrey, and so on. 

I am off camping in Dorset this week-end with my three 30 –something sons, and 3 year old grandson…we will have serious fun!

Hope you do too.

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