We have recently re-energised our oldest brand, DolphinBookBox. Some 10 years or so ago this was the delivery mechanism on-line for our community library and book delivery service.
What we have found recently is that, after over a decade of development, our Partnership ‘elevator pitch’ – what is it you do? – was getting longer and longer.
To stop our meeting attendees glazing over, as if they would, we have recompiled the BookBox web site and converted it into a feature suite for our miscellany of Partnership projects and services.
There is a logic to our Partnership offering, with inter-connected themes for all our work.
Our print and design service keys into our community web service, our project management efforts around community buildings key into our skills in governance and policy advice.
Our children’s book business delivery synergises with our international on-line contact project Books go Walkabout, which itself feeds projects into our publishing house activities for new eBooks and recharged back catalogue creation….and so on.
Some startling figures emerging about Children’s Centre closures…
In November the government confirmed that 124 Sure Start centres had closed, (Children and Young People Now). In addition, there is much evidence that formation of clusters and alternative ways of meeting the community needs are being applied in local authorities.
When the council budgets are being squeezed there have to be cuts on the ground. The impact on centres and communities is felt by some of the people most in need.
Mergers, clusters, closures may be unavoidable when finance is the main driver.
The benefit of a good neighbourhood Sure Start Children’s Centre for all the community is incalculable. One that is serving the needs and being there for young children and their families creates enormous social wealth and prevents much hardship.
We welcome the opportunities that an All Party Parliamentary Sure Start group will bring to the continued existence and governmental backing for Sure Start Children’s Centres.
Charities face closures as local authorities slash funding, making the delivery of community projects somewhere between hard and impossible.
‘Acevo (the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations) had already shown that the sector will lose £750 million this year if central and local government passed on cuts proportionately.’ Guardian Tuesday 2nd August 2011.
Research from False Economy shows that more than 2000 charities face cuts. Zoe Williams in the Guardian, Thurs 4th August 2011 says that ‘…philanthrocapitalism often looks a lot more like capitalism than it does philanthropy.’
Our partnership work is very much at the ground level; working with people in communities, the centres, the staff, the volunteers and children and families. There’s a lot of resilience and a feeling that although funding and support from the last few good years is coming to an end it doesn’t have to signify a finality to all the good work and the spirit of the community.
The problems have not gone away, they are now papered over or simply removed from the political agenda.
But community development is more than just provision of economic funding; social wealth, creative wealth and spirit of support remain.
There are ways through hard times, social enterprise being one, allowing you to be in charge of your own destiny and economic sustainability is a very powerful opportunity for good.
(Image courtesy of Ridgeway Park Children Centre )