Friday, 25 January 2013

Business & Links

Links to business is a bit of a theme for this week. I attended a Business in the Community , south-east regional event at Starbucks in Guildford on Wednesday morning . The event was “United Futures”- linking youth organisations and business together. I had been invited to the national launch in London back in the summer, because of our work on our pre-existing local  “4x4Scheme”. The Starbucks event was useful for business contacts, and I have already followed up an important offer,  and spoken to a potential trustee.

Our Trustee meeting on Wednesday evening went well,  with a new earlier start time of 6.00pm and a finish at 8.10pm. The budget was approved and so too, continuing the business theme, the launch of a new initiative called Communilab, which is a virtual  problem solving network that links Communities- Universities- Local Authorities and Business together. Great thanks to Nigel Biggs one of our Trustees for doing this. We also described the  dramatic increase in Member Benefits that our volunteer Adviser, Shelagh West has negotiated, and finally Trustees approved a re- losing the cross-keys badge below.

Earlier in the week I met with a colleagues from Surrey CC Youth Support Service about running a conference for youth workers (statutory and voluntary about social enterprise, and Thursday was our first workshop for young people about How To set up in self-employment/business, though despite great efforts from all concerned numbers attending were disappointing.

Friday morning has seen a meeting with colleagues from our national organisation (NCVYS ) and our sister organisations in East and West Sussex. I am sure these cross- border links will be prove valuable – Surrey – Sussex is a 2.2 mill population sub-region.

But the best news of all is that our 15 month grand-daughter (7 weeks premature and heart stopped twice) can sit up by herself now, and the snow is going. Hurrah!


Friday, 18 January 2013

Blogging in the snow

I mentioned that we had moved to Cloud computing last week and the practical value of this is shown by the fact that we can access emails and shared data files on desktop or laptops remotely, enabling home working, as today, rather than doing battle with the elements, and always losing. Indeed Monday and Tuesday this week were affected by lousy starts to the day because of snow (Monday) and traffic chaos on the A3 (Tuesday) affecting my usual 7.45 am start in the office. So I could get used to this home working. Saw the film Quartet last weekend; highly recommended. Ah yes! Work….

Well a prosaic week, dominated by getting papers out for trustee meetings (main and sub committee). 

We have also been promoting our workshop next Thursday for disadvantaged young people about How To set up in business. We have put a lot of effort into this and now have 8 young people, and 2 support workers attending which is great. Self-employment and social enterprise is definitely a way forward for many young people.

I went to the opening of the B free Youth CafĂ©’s new coffee shop on Wednesday afternoon. The building work and equipment were funded by the Leader of Surrey CC, David Hodge, from his Leader’s Fund . The opening was packed with young people and guests, including David Hodge. Congratulations to all, especially Andy Gill, youth manager there. Useful conversation too with one of SCC’s Youth Support Service commissioners.

Very good meeting last evening with our Uniformed Organisations at which we agreed to re-submit our Armed Forces bid, following advice and encouragement from the MoD. Shelagh West gave a compelling summary of the Members Benefits we can now offer (see website) including insurance. One practical example of this is that we are re-branding and had some 22 designs offered to us, free of charge. The problem now comes to select the best one!

Stay safe,


Friday, 11 January 2013

CX on Cloud 9

Happy New Year to you, and happy days too, for we have successfully moved our technology into the Cloud (no longer server based) and now use up to date, and very fast software “in the cloud”. The company that we used is called Cloud 9, and we have negotiated a Members benefits discount with them. Indeed, I am about to meet with a major insurance company with whom we may  also be giving “preferred supplier” status as yet another discounted member benefit. The significance of the IT package is that we can access all our data in the office, from home, or by phone/tablet, so we become independent of office location. Clever stuff.

I am also looking at our current structure and revising job descriptions and roles as our Youth Development Worker, Marie Silvester is leaving us at the end of this month, after 3 years with us. She has run the highly successful “Youth work the basics” course and we wish her well in the future – she is joining the West Berkshire Training Consortium.  

Our sister organisation The Youth Consortium has been granted permission by the Wates Family Trust to use their grant funding to purchase some support services from us, including some of my time, and, subject to our Trustees agreement this will be very mutually beneficial.

The social enterprise is moving on and setting up happening. The deal on the  premises in Leatherhead is  being closed off. The next step will be to recriuit the (NEET) staff and establish the training plans.

Our “How to” workshop for young  people on how to set up in self-employment/ business on 24 January is now quorate, but we still have spaces for any young person who has a business idea but needs help in setting up. Contact Kate Peters:

However a disappointment has been not being awarded an Armed Forces community covenant grant, save for £3,000 for a resource directory and swap-shop.

I have booked in to two marathon charity walks this year – the (Guildford) Y to (redhill) Y in March and the Surrey Cre Trust “3 Peaks" in September, so I am starting ny Sussex Downs training walks this weekend which is why it’s due to snow on Saturday! Saw Jack Reacher (film) with eldest son – Tom Cruise – great action movie. Definitely cautiously optimistic about 2013 – lots more to say next week!