I attended the last event as part of the Policy and Representation Partnership on Friday; it is with great sadness that I am bringing this 4 year project to a close. Thank you to everyone who has made it what it is, I am so proud to have been involved in supporting the VCS in the North East to get more involved in changing policy and practice.
Thank you in particular to our spectacular chair Professor Fred Robinson from St Chad’s College – his commitment and dedication has been above and beyond.
This year has been an exceptionally brilliant year for the Partnership and over the past few weeks I have been attending events and finalising reports and publications to ensure the partnership has as much impact as possible.
Last week Children North East launched their website aimed at ‘poverty proofing the school day’; working with schools, pupils and Governors to make schools a fairer place for everyone. Newcastle CAB have worked incredibly hard with Newcastle City Council to improve the use of bailiffs in the City and have produced a Corporate Debt Strategy which was discussed at a Financial Inclusion Seminar last Wednesday. Together Newcastle CAB and Newcastle City Council will try and encourage those in debt to get help earlier to avoid legal action.
On Friday First Contact Clinical disseminated findings from their work with local authorities and kinship carers. This work has really highlighted the lack of support for grandparents and families that become carers due to substance or alcohol misuse by the birth parents. Following on from this event it is hoped to persue funding to develop local support groups for carers and carry out more work with local authorities.
This is not to forget the great work Pentagon Partnership has done with the North Eastern LEP or Moneywise Credit Union in working with the sector and producing handy fact sheets such as ‘what is APR?’.
I am sure that over the next few months we will continue to hear more about what changes these policy projects make for communities in the North East.
This year we were extremely fortunate to be able to work with Sarah Ainslie and Pamela Hargreaves through Pical CIC to deliver training and masterclass sessions to enable the sector to raise their game in influencing and campaigning. Anyone that was able to attend would agree with me that these sessions were invaluable and I am delighted that we have been able to leave such a valuable free resource for the sector to use ‘Influencing Decision Makers: Lobbying locally or Nationally’ toolkit.