Friday, 27 January 2012


Well it’s been a busy but really rewarding week. The Surrey14-19 Partnership on Monday revealed the difficulties that FE Colleges are experiencing now in building up young people who leave school without English and Maths GCSE (Wolf report requirement)  and yet Surrey schools do really well (62.9% having 5 GCSE passes including  Maths/English) …but 4,000 do not. We touched on education and links to corporates with Anne Milton MP who came to see us last Friday. She is very impressive, knowledgeable and supportive of the voluntary sector.

We had a brief training session with a social media consultant (Nicky Kriel - recommended) on Tuesday morning that gave us practical ideas for marketing Surrey Youth Focus better in future. This was followed by our Trustees meeting in the evening which approved our budget for 2012/13, aided by some unexpected but very welcome additional income. We have several new Trustees and this is a very strong and effective Board. Investment of time in good governance is really worthwhile.  The main theme for the meeting was about "Positive for Youth" the Government’s policy paper on young people, which is on our website, as is my powerpoint summarising it. My only real criticism of it is that it’s weak on workforce development.

I stood down as a Board member of RAISE at its AGM on Wednesday..and it was good to catch up there with Jean Roberts–Jones former CX of Surrey Community Action who is  enjoying her new job at Eastleigh.

I went to Guildford FE College on Thursday. The college has a budget of £40 mill and does great work with its students- they are becoming Partner members of ours and we were exploring complementary activities. I’m looking forward to receiving the College students’ DVD of the “Young people and society” debate in Guildford, which they filmed, and is now ready. I am sure there is much that can be done to benefit the College and Surrey Youth Focus members. Also heard on Thursday that we are to be receiving £500 from County Councillor Frost towards the cost of Surrey Youth News, which is much appreciated.

Then last night I went to a performance by the amazing and very gifted young actors of Peer Productions (Knaphill, Woking ) who put on a brilliant performance of their Alcohol Project. This is a 90 minute long musical drama that has a narrative about the experiences of young people who end up in A&E after a drunken Friday night. Importantly the drama is founded on real facts and researched experiences about the impact of alcohol on young people. It is a powerful bitter/sweet drama. It can be delivered to schools, colleges at a cost of £600 (plus travel costs). Highly recommended.

I found it difficult to know how to respond as an audience member, knowing that every bit of hilarity would be followed by some personal tragedy…..and almost too real…for the youth development worker in my team also works part – time for a Borough Council, running a youth centre where recently she had to deal with two drunken (as in "totally wasted") and violent 14/15 year old girls at 6.00pm. Very challenging.  Drama and reality become as one.

And finally, I am off this afternoon to visit a mother and toddler group formed by teenage parents with support from a County Council youth worker, who now want to become a voluntary organisation to help other teenage mums. Isn’t that great?!! 


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