Wednesday 22 July 2009

Volunteering and Regions

My niece Amy Bubb is now out in Zambia volunteering for Hope for Children. So showing a strong Bubb like appetite for the third sector. But good to note she certainly expects to enjoy herself. Her first mail home:

"Yesterday was incredible! To get to the jet boating we had to drive through lots of tiny tribal villages and the kids were all waving at us and chasing after our truck - they're adorable! And then we had to take a cable car over all the way down to the Zambezi river which was pretty exciting in itself! The jet boating was so so much fun - they drove at 90mph and did 360 degree spins and it was just insane! We all got so wet that it was like we'd all been in a bath! Then we drove to the waterfront where we got on the booze cruise, and there certainly was a lot of booze! And THEN while we were all watching the sunset enjoying our drinks, all these hippos suddenly appeared and this group of elephants started walking along beside the embankment! It was incredible! (Dad, I bet you're so jealous!) Oh and we've seen many a monkey etc... So it's all turning into a little safari! After the cruise, Lisa, John (the co-ordinator) and myself had some more drinks in the waterfront bar until quite late, and then when we went to join the others back at the hostel, we decided to check out this Zambian nightclub which was...interesting! Lots of crazy African music mixed in with some Beyonce and Justin Timberlake! So we all got down with the locals......"

Must be a genetic Bubb link here; doing good, fun and drink!

ACEVO has been working with ippr north on a report on 'regional engagegment with third sector' It was launched yesterday, a PDF of the report can be found here: <>

They argue the voice of the third sector is not being heard in shaping communities at regional level. They, ippr, call for Government action to give the sector greater influence.

The survey on which the report is based, found that over 80 per cent of charity leaders thought that decision making at the regional was important for their work, but over 60 per cent thought the sector’s voice in policy-making at the regional and sub-regional levels was not very well established.

Because the role regions now play in shaping communities is changing with new powers and functions, the Government should include the third sector as key stakeholders together with quangos and partnerships, such as the Regional Development Agencies, regional local authority leaders’ boards and city-regional partnerships.

But importantly they argue if the sector is to play an important role in decisions about economic development, planning, housing and regeneration, they need skills to do so effectively. These include strategic thinking, building strategic alliances, looking beyond immediate local issues and being clear about which policy debates to enter, and why. They also need to develop key messages providing a more coherent voice for the third sector and understanding and responding to small ‘p’ politics.

Our Director of ACEVO North, Jenny Berry, was heavily involved in this work. It makes a strong case for the continuing need for professionalism in the sector. The reason ACEVO set up its ACEVO North office is to work with our growing membership there and to promote the ACEVO professional message. This report will help strengthen our work in ACEVO north. And ensure CEOs working in the North have a strong voice!

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