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Thursday, January 5th, 2017

What to Expect from Officials

The Ivan Rogers affair is reverberating around the corridors of power at the moment, both in the UK and Europe. The election of Donald Trump is reverberating globally. Both raise some questions about the role of elected and career officials.

It seems to me that elected officials at all levels are there to act in the interests

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Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Celebrate Local Charities

This is being published on Local Charities Day, a day designated by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, which gives small, local charities and community groups a chance to sit in the spotlight.

In announcing the date, Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson said:

“On Local Charities Day, I want us all to shout from

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Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Time to Get Serious

The latest round of news about historical child abuse which is suddenly swamping the Football Association should be a wake up call for anyone involved in the running of activities for children.

We can be sure that this issue is not restricted to those areas where it has surfaced so far. It will no longer be

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Thursday, November 17th, 2016

If You Read Nothing Else ……

….. before this year draws to its final curtain, then read the Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Birmingham and Solihull. This joint NHS/Local Authority publication sets the stage for radical change within the provision of services and anyone involved in the voluntary or community sectors should know about it and prepare to engage with this vision.

The programme declares a ‘Triple Aim’

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Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

A Time to be Kind

It seems that our calendar is bowed down with every sort of special day, week or month imaginable. From National Avocado Day (really!!) to National Fishing Month, most pass by without us noticing. Writing this on Thursday November 3rd, I note with a general lack of excitement that today is National Sandwich Day. Well, who

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Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Bill for Better Buses

There is a welcome and overdue revolution in the air for the world of bus operations, aimed at raising standards, driving up passenger numbers and reversing the deregulation introduced with the 1985 Transport Act, now widely seen as an unmitigated failure.

The Bus Services Bill, heralded by the last Queen’s Speech, is currently at Report Stage

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Friday, September 23rd, 2016

The Local Contribution

Last night’s VCS Conference highlighted the great opportunity for the local VCS to work more closely with the local public sector for the benefit of people in need and their communities.

Our keynote speaker, Tony Armstrong of Locality, eloquently spoke of his organisation’s Keep It Local campaign, of the benefits to be gained from local authorities

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Monday, September 12th, 2016

Neighbourliness Midst the Olive Groves

Fresh back from a holiday midst the sun kissed olive groves of Greece, one of the indelible memories is a sense of village community.

Staying slightly inland, where villagers outnumbered tourists, it was striking that all the locals knew each other. Hand shaking was endemic. Cars stopped in the narrow village roads for someone to hang

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Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Feeding young souls

Being on holiday affords an annual chance to do some reading and this year to sample for the first time a tome by George Eliot, or Mary Ann Evans, as we now know the author, a volume described by Martin Amis as ‘probably the greatest novel in the English language’.

Rich with observation and

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Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Celebrating the Community Centre

I must confess that Community Centre Week  has completely missed by radar until now. However, three weeks ago, 19 to 25 July, was designated this handle and, for the third year in a row, community centres across our islands were invited to celebrate their contribution to community life.

And why not? A thriving community centre has

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