ERA put Eston on the map again
ERA chosen from across country as a pilot group in the Governments Skills for Care programme. Our chair, Ann Higgins invited to a "round table meeting" on June 10that the Guardian newspaper offices in London to speak about ERA and its work over the years.
The meeting was sponsored by Skills for Care, the Sector Skills council for Adult and Social Care in England, and held under Chatham House rule, which allows comments to be reported without attribution to encourage open debate. The roundtable heard about 14 pilots around the country that are being run by the Skills for Care that are looking at ways to develop social capital and build community leaders. The pilots are part of a national initiative around workforce planning and community skills development, which includes the release this Autumn of a toolkit (advice and support) for health and social care organisations, which will offer help on how to ‘map community skills development which can also happen when local people take the initiative themselves, without relying on an organisation being the catalyst. It was stated that the professionals are very resistant to volunteer involvement and that another important skill for volunteers is to understand how local decisions are taken, "If you don't have the knowledge of the decision making process people can run rings around you."
Attending the Roundtable meeting were:
David Brindle Public services editor, The Guardian (who chaired the meeting)
Cat Parker - Executive Project Mmanager - Coventry City Council
Dame Elizabeth Hoodless - Former executive director Community Service Volunteers
Bill Mumford Chief Executive Officer - Macintyre
Matthew Sowemimo - Head of public policy WRVS.
David Croisdale-Appleby - Chair, Skills for Care
Jeff Jerome - Strategic Advisor, Think Local, Act Personal Partnership
Melanie Henwood - Health and social care consultant.
Ann Higgins - Chairperson Eston Residents Association
Gemma Bruce - Research manager - Turning Point Connected Care
Sukhvinder Kaur-Stubbs - Chair Volunteering England
Martin Routledge - Head of Operations in Control
Jim Thomas - Programme Head, Skills for Care.
This meeting was followed up with a full page write up in the Guardian Newspaper on the 29th June, with photos of those attending the meeting including our chair, Ann Higgins. At the end of the meeting Ann Higgins our chair was approached by the Skills for Care representatives asking if they could visit ERA in Eston to see some of our work and talk to representatives of ERA and our community. All the attendees at the roundtable meeting were enthralled with our story, our achievements, wanting to know how and why we had done and achieved all that we had, with also the support of other parts of our Eston Community. A visit to Eston was arranged for the 14th July, The Skills for Care team sent their official photographer, as they are to do a write up on Eston and ERA over the years in their national magazine.
We were chosen for this pilot project acknowledging our grass roots voluntary organisations work in the community over the last 15 years which has reached so many outside Eston also.
ERA's chair, Ann Higgins was very proud to attend and tell it as it is out in the communities, the truth, that our people and community know us and we know our community. Both the editor and the Chair for volunteering England at the end of the meeting told Ann they were ‘fascinated' by our dedication and commitment, also our achievements over the years and that the meeting and debate was certainly very interesting and lively. Our concern has been that even though locally funding and support was not always an even playing field, some organisations being favoured over other more proactive and successful ones in the name of politics.
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