Friday, 30 March 2012


We had a very successful Celebration of Youth at Esher High School last Saturday, although there was a great deal of traffic chaos in the surrounding area that afternoon causing many of us, including me to be late in setting up, and some guests struggled to arrive on time. Nevertheless, the performances by young people were of the highest quality that I have yet seen, and there are pictures of the acts on our Twitter page. I would have to single out a rap duo from the Amber Foundation who composed and sang their own rap; a singer aged 14 from Windle Valley Youth Project who had an amazing voice for someone so young, an electric guitarist also from WVTP, the very young but great band called Sweet Revenge and finally the Phoenix dance group. It was a great reminder of the achievements and artistry of so many young people.

On Monday evening, I went to Raven Housing Trust’s own celebration of the achievements of the young people that they’ve encouraged to take responsibility for the estates where they live. The event was held at the (rather too large) Harlequin Theatre, Redhill, but  I was impressed by Raven Chief Executive’s talk. Whereas Surrey Youth Consortium have won 27/31 youth centre contracts,   Raven have won the remaining 4 in the Redhill area, and I could  see why.

I have helped RAISE Chief Executive conduct interviews for new staff, and have offered to someone who I am sure will be outstandingly good, and also another candidate who though not appointed may be going down the self-employment path as someone with 10 years training in  fund raising and related matters. Great potential for the voluntary youth sector..I will be getting in touch with him again.

I spent an afternoon at Horsham as a speaker /facilitator with my colleagues in West Sussex Council for Voluntary Youth Services. Interestingly West Sussex CC are using a commissioning process to invite the voluntary sector to state what they can offer against their own “Service delivery Framework” (needs analysis) and will then in pursuit of localism give grants to reliable partners to deliver that locally. My colleagues in WSCVYS are being paid by WSCC to facilitate this discussion. West Sussex CC have a highly differentiated approach  – meeting local needs locally. Meanwhile back in Surrey the Surrey Youth Consortium are signing off today on the contracts they won some weeks ago, but which have since been subject to lengthy post- award discussions. Interesting to compare/ contrast approaches. I think I will be getting some follow up consultancy work in the Sussex area about consortia and mergers.

However, my high spot this week was in London on Wednesday afternoon at a Business in the Community (BitC) launch of the United Futures project. This links big corporates – the lead speaker was the CEO of O2 (Telefonica) – to voluntary sector youth organisations, through UK Youth, and National Children’s Bureau with backing also from NCVYS.  I was invited because of our “4x4 Project”, and after meeting a few weeks ago in Guildford with BitC’s  national director of the programme. I have lots of follow up contacts to make.

A good week… just don’t mention petrol to me….soon be Easter break though.


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