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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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Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Integration and Infrastructure

One of the key priorities for the new West Midlands Combined Authority is the improvement of transport infrastructure.

Good transport links are vital for helping folk to get to work and other places they need to be. They are also essential for attracting the business that will bring jobs to the area in the first place.

Some of the

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Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Building That Better Britain

‘We will build a better Britain not just for the privileged few’ said Teresa May at the lectern in Downing Street in her first address to the nation as prime Minister. And no doubt we applaud that, share the sentiment and wish her success in its delivery.

We can also hope that she sees it as a challenge

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Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Putting It Back Together

The Gerald Scarfe cartoon in last Sunday’s newspaper said it all really. It depicted Boris Johnson with a cracked eggshell head in the form of Humpty Dumpty and the caption asked whether, now, he could put it all back together again.

Developments yesterday suggest that he may have ducked that challenge.

Meanwhile, the last week has seen

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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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Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Volunteering Today

There was a time, pre-Welfare State, when folk used to help each other out a lot more. In the absence of  state led provision, if people in communities didn’t support each other then no-one else would.

Over the course of two generations that spirit has been lost. Supporting those who are struggling in life

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