The week has been dominated by the important discussions about who the agreed bidder might be for the Government’s Office of Civil Society funding of the “Transforming Local Infrastructure" grant. There has been a great deal of interest in this funding- potentially £600,000 for Surrey, BUT there can be only one lead bidder, and the content of the bid must be genuinely transformative of the sector. The upshot is that Surrey Community Action will lead a Surrey bid in collaboration with many others including the CVS network, Age UK and of course Surrey Youth Focus.
Having resolved who the ONE lead bidder will be, the next stage is discuss and agree the nature of the bid (by 31 October). The bid will need to meet the criteria set by the Lottery and reflect some shared vision about how the sector should transform, reduce costs, and improve services to the frontline. There is widespread agreement that there is duplication and possible cost saving, and it is essential to develop this belief into a shared vision of what an improved infrastructure network should look like (inevitably a hub and spoke in some form) and convert that vision into practicable projects. Quite a challenge, but a potential £600,000 is a very useful “carrot” to encourage change alongside the “stick” of cost cutting pressures we all face from reductions in grant income.
I have drafted the Annual Report for 2010/11 and this now goes off to our auditor to check before going to Trustees for approval. I find it hard to write retrospectively when the year has gone, and it is the here and now/future that is of greater concern. They are interlinked of course…I feel a TS Eliot poem coming on about “Time present is present…”
We have written formally to the eleven Surrey MPs, who are a very distinguished and influential group, inviting them to participate in two public debates about “Young people and society”. We have secured a bit of funding to make a short film using the Community Film Unit ( a social enterprise formed by successful Future Jobs Fund trainees) interviewing needy young people about their experiences leading up to their current predicament, and what if anything could have made a difference at a key point. The point of the debates is to flag up the achievements of young people, but also the increasingly severe challenges that young people face.
So a productive week!
A long weekend beckons...obviously the key is Ireland v. England rugby international, plus involvement in a local community arts festival , and re-starting my focus on the MA Theology and this academic year’s dissertation…Last Bank Holiday til Christmas….enjoy!!