Friday, 22 June 2012

Chairman gets OBE

Surrey Youth Focus is delighted that our Chairman, David Hypher was awarded the OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List; it is richly deserved, and we are so pleased for both him and his wife Pam. Congratulations.

 And then a very busy and interesting week on a number of levels.

On Monday, I was at a meeting at the Cathedral refectory with Surrey Community Action and the CVs chaired by the Chairman of the County Council (Lavinia Sealy) and with the Chairman of the Council's Select Committee (Cllr Stve Cosser) also present. The purpose of the meeting was to explore the real  views of the voluntary sector about the Council's intention to commission and contract infrastructure support services. This is a very sensitive and controversial issue...and always has been. Suffice to say that SCA disclosed that they would be bidding for the contract outside Surrey Voluntary Action Network (the CVs) of which they are a member.

Keen fans of this blog will recall that we have a Memorandum of Understanding with SCA about co-operative joint  bidding..and SYF has recently had its strategic awayday....  We have now commented formally back to SCC about the consultation document on commissioning. All very tense.

Moving on.... a second matter we discussed in the strategy day was building links to our sister organisation at West Sussex CVYS, and so on Wednesday evening I was at the WSCVYS AGM to meet with their Chair and discuss taking matters forward, which we will now do in the sense of both Chairs meeting in due course. Having huffed and puffed to get our Annual Report done and into our auditor it was  bit mortifying that WCVYS and my good friend Hanna Moore (CEO) had got their Annual Report done, the Accounts audited, a "pop" version written, AND held their AGM in mid June, just 2.5 months after close of last financial year. Impressive!!

Thursday morning saw my last appearance as Chair of South East Youth Partnership (now a network only, and supported by CHYPS) which had a workshop session with Mark Price and Jane Melvin from Brighton University about workforce development issues, and the market for youth work training. The debates about "what is youth work? and Is it a discrete profession?" continue. The cost of a foundation degree in youth work is now£13,000 (not even a BA).

The afternoon was at NESCOT an FE College and  meeting of a sub-group of Surrey Connects about employability and soft skills for young people. There is a complaint from employers that even if young people have particular skills - in IT for example - they lack the self-presentation/ work ethic/ work experience skills, and this is something now being addressed. My participation was in pursuance of our grant bid around Surrey Youth Enterprise.

Then that same evening, I was at the Annual Hart Browne Economics Lecture at Surrey University. For those of us who are Radio 4 Today programme fans the star speaker was Justin Urquart-Stewart, who is a frequent commentator on the programme on financial matters. He was extremely amusing with a  stand up comedian's (or former barrister's) line in banter and some solid comments. His theme was about building confidence, and promoting business. He pointed to the lack of historical awareness of Government Ministers and top civil servants. One telling fact was that the USA has 45 mill people on food stamps. The problem of economic inequality in the land of the free.

Finally, this (Friday) morning I have been back in Horsham with my colleagues from WSCVYS, ESCVYS and NCVYS with our usual slightly chaotic, but valuable exchange of experiences and discussion of issues.

England v.  Italy on Sunday evening:  - penalty shoot out maybe?
Have fun!


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