Lots of good news….
First that Surrey Connects (not unlike an LEP) have committed to sponsoring our CommUniLAB project. It is great to have their support and confidence in the project, and in consequence of having this additional funding we are now moving on quickly to commission the website and to recruit a part–time project manager to move it forward. We’re working with Barclays, the main sponsors on the press/publicity launch. VERY exciting project.Surrey Youth Enterprise – the social enterprise that we have been instrumental in setting up - is also committing to join CommUniLAB. Incidentally, the social enterprise will be marketing world-class cctv software, sourced in India and for which we have exclusive UK rights. It is amazing…already installed into every airport in India..and half the price of competitors. We currently have £100,000 of orders for this alone….. We have four other world class products to offer, and the CiC will be launching these at a reception on 4 Dec at the Leatherhead office. Currently recruiting 2 young apprentices and other staff.Surrey (Youth Focus) connects also to our sister organisation in West Sussex, (West Sussex Council for Voluntary Youth Services) and with whom we have had a Memorandum of Understanding about close working. Sadly they have now shut down, but as part of ensuring their legacy they are transferring some funding to us so that we could provide a service to their members in – access to our Member Benefits, e-bulletin, funding bulletin and workshops about future needs/consortium building and soon. This is Surrey connecting into West Sussex and is potentially a very significant development for Surrey Youth Focus. We’ll just have to see if we can help the West Sussex youth organisations in a way that they find helpful..time will tell.Monday saw a reception at the brilliant Skillway (arts and crafts charity working with disadvantaged young people in Godalming) to celebrate the receipt of funding and new machine tools from the International Rotary Club (including from India!). They do utterly brilliant work at Skillway.I was part of a small group that met with the Chief Exec of Surrey CC to plan a workshop between SCC and the charity sector about partnership working. I thought it was an excellent meeting; there is a reality that until/unless the vol sector becomes mainly/wholly independent of government grants/contracts there is bound to be a dependency, and sometimes if handled badly a sense of subservience that hence engenders bitterness towards the hand that feeds. That did NOT happen on this occasion – the word was “symbiosis”, as in “symbiotic relationship” wherein differences in scale count for nought because of the mutuality. The further reality (though not part of the usual way of thinking in Surrey’s civil society ) is that taxpayers pay the salaries of public servants (the clue is in the word “servant”) and so any sense of superiority would be wholly misplaced. I think we in the vol sector should be more confident in the value of what we do, and yet realistic.Closing date today for applications for new Workforce development and HR post in our team – all looking good.