It’s been a brilliant and enjoyable week.
As any regular readers will know, one of my constant themes is that the voluntary sector needs to link more closely with businesses and corporates, and vice versa, to fill the gap caused by the (irreversible) decline in central and local government spending.
Well, Monday evening saw the launch of our “4x4 Project” whereby in collaboration with Surrey Chambers we have tried to link four businesses to four of our member organisations. The evening was hosted by The Co-operative Bank, and was a very good start to the development of wider links to business. Specific follow up actions are happening, and particular thanks to PKF, who have been brilliant.
I then met with someone from BiS to carry on the discussion, and on Wednesday with two managers from Business in the Community (BitC). One is running the national programme called “United Futures” encouraging “top down” links between corporates and youth organisations. It is a collaboration between the DfE, UK Youth, National Childrens Bureau and our own national umbrella body the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services, and her colleague has responsibility for Surrey/Sussex. It was a really positive meeting, and again follow up action happening. So we have both top down, and bottom up approaches. Yesterday I was privileged to be introduced to the CEO of Surrey Satellite Technology and be shown round the massively impressive site. The possibility of links between SST and specific member organisations was discussed.
One telling point made to me was that competition (for contracts) was a fact of life, and that the voluntary sector needs to get much better at defining income streams (selling goods and services) rather than looking for government grants. There are of course voluntary organisations (Scouts, Guides) who have eschewed grants/contracts and have a different business model, but the point was well made….I am brewing up a Lottery bid…more later.
And finally, and most important – Lancaster has selected the same England team as me...but I admit to being more than a little apprehensive about the Welsh game on Saturday, and having given up alcohol for Lent , don’t even have the prospect of a consoling pint. BUT winning is all in the mind! We’ll see! (Any new readers - I am a BIG England rugby fan.)