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Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Charities: “The Lifeblood of Society”

The report by The House of Lords Select Committee on Charities, entitled ‘Stronger charities for a stronger society’, has been well received and also gives pause for thought for those of us in the sector…

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Thursday, January 19th, 2017

A Question for every Rail Traveller

The disruption on train services caused by the row over who shuts the doors has been going on since early December. It is easy to feel isolated from it here in the Midlands, but we should not be. It could affect us in the end.

Everyone has their chance to express their opinion on the issue at stake except

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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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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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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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Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Independents’ Day

By the time you read the next SUSTAiN Alert, Independents’ Day may have come and partially gone. Although the next Alert will come out on July 1st, many readers will pick it up on July 4th, which is Independents’ Day, but much of its focus will be on the preceding weekend, July 2nd/3rd.

Some of you,

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Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Passion for the Smaller Fry

Leicester City captured the nation’s imagination. It seems that only die-hard fans of the biggest clubs, who had expectations to win the  gong, were not rooting for the minnows to carry it off. A tremendous achievement completed, a heart warming tale it has turned out to be after last weekend’s round of matches.

Rooting for the

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Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Could You Spot the Signs?

An important document has been published. It is a revised framework setting out how agencies across the West Midlands will work together to protect children from sexual exploitation (CSE).

The whole document is an essential read for anyone involved in working with children and can be found here.

But the onus is the whole of the Voluntary and

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Friday, June 5th, 2015

Pushing the Powerhouse

So, what are we to make of this talk of Combined Authority? Is Solihull and its independence under threat from big Birmingham? Will our ability to meet the needs of our communities be pruned through diversion of resources into the Birmingham and Black Country conurbation? Should we resist it with all our might?

If we look

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