Thursday 11 February 2010

Birmingham Big Tell.

"Thanks for laying this on- it's just what is needed!": one member said to me at the start of the 3rd Leg of the UK Big Ask Gig (yes we are doing Wales and Scotland too - we have members across the UK).

A really positive mood again. As in Manchester I asked people whether they were optimistic or pessimistic about the future for the sector. Everyone, bar one person who was not sure, said OPTIMISTIC.

Not that there were not serious challenges for members. Poor commissioning was a theme again. Some appalling stories of bad practice but also some advice. How important it is to network with the key commissioning people and to build relationships . Making a strong professional case. Arguing, "we are the best providers with the best results".

And I liked the comment about politicians who talk strong about the third sector but when its down to the detail of what they will do it's like "nailing jelly to the wall".

Let me give you a snapshot of members there. ACEVO has a very broad range of members. Indeed 828 of our CEOs run organisations with a turnover of less than £1m. People some times think we are only the big nationals. We have them yes. And they are great but we have a wide range of social enterprise and community leaders too!

For example today we had Robin Lindman who runs the network for Black Professionals, David Strudley - Acorns Children's Hospice, John Morris of Trident, a social business, Edward Ellman of the Bournville Village Trust, Sandy Beech of Beacon who talked about their new social enterprise with a hotel, Jennifer Barraclough of the Woodbroke Quaker Study Centre and the Litchfield Citizens Advice Bureau. And more. (But if I go on Bogg will get me.)

And now I'm off to a Book Launch. A Book by my sister Sara! I think it's her 14th? She writes on teachers and their training. Her latest is "Helping Staff Develop in Schools". Fascinating. Obviously I don't read them. Life's too short! But they are good; why they even get translated into Chinese and Sara wanders the world talking about teacher training. Someone has to. And they will have "wine and nibbles" at the reception though I fear the worst as far as the wine is concerned! But there will be lots of other Bubbs there. What a brainy lot we are! Why my brother Nick was being quoted in the financial press only recently. Again. We cover all angles us Bubbs; private, public and third sectors.

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