Friday, 11 November 2011


A frustrating and stressful week because of the failure of BT Broadband to sort out technical problems at their end. Very unimpressive, but having vented my spleen at a corporate giant, let me move on…

We had our AGM and Open Forum on Tuesday evening attended by some 42 people, which was impressive for a small organisation like us. Grateful to the Lord Lieutenant, the High Sheriff, the Chairman of the County Council and our new President, Lord Robert Baden-Powell for attending.

Vicky Westhorp from Cabinet Office (Office of Civil Society, South-east) was our principal speaker; she gave a detailed account of the impressive extent of the Government’s actions to promote the Big Society. Then Ian Burks (CX, Redhill YMCA) explained how he and his team had raised some £1.2 mill for the new Sovereign Centre – a community centre for children and young people with disabilities. The venue was Woking Sea Rangers superb new hq at the huge, brand new Hoe Community Centre built by Woking BC opposite their new leisure centre. Another great example of local leadership and multi–million investment by Woking’s Chief Exec. Ray Morgan….Big Society in action!

On Thursday morning we had a meeting of voluntary sector infrastructure organizations funded by Surrey CC about cuts in 2012/13, and then, probably more importantly, about their moving to a commissioning process for 2012/13 onwards. I have been really impressed by how SCC officers have approached this tricky task in an open and collaborative way, and how voluntary organizations have accepted (reluctantly) the need for cuts, and are keen to move on. BUT I am not sure to what extent colleagues appreciate it just how different it will feel being a “contractor”.

Hence my Delphic warnings in my powerpoint presentation to the Surrey Compact meeting in the afternoon..that was attended by, I guess, about 120 people.

My powerpoint, and the Cabinet Office report on the riots, are on our website.

Looking forward to the second of our public debates about "Young people and Society" at NESCOT (FE college, Epsom) on Friday 25 November at 1.00pm…just come along.


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