Spare a Thought for…

Portabella RdWe awoke as a nation on Friday 25th June 2016 to the incredible announcement that Britain has voted to leave the European Union.

How and why ever did that happen? As The Economist in the article, A Tragic Split, mentions…” How quickly the unthinkable has become the irreversible”. Economist 24.6.16.

On Saturday morning I was walking in a small town in East Anglia, similar to many small towns with different communities, who bring lots of benefits to local towns. As I walked on the streets I could see many Lithuanian and Latvian young families doing their shopping, they were stopping and talking with each other. How do they feel on this Saturday morning? How will their children feel at school on Monday?

And so as a passionate European, my small lament as a consequence of this reckless decision…

Spare a Thought for all those who now live with us from Spain, Portugal, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and other countries…

For the nurses in our hospitals who every day look after us when we are sick and ill.

For the carers of our elderly parents and older generation, who every day care for and act with compassion and tenderness to our families.

For the people who work on the land, who every day battle with the cold and wet weather to provide us with cheap food.

For the plumbers, carpenters, electricians in the building industry, who every day build our houses and places of work.

They have come to be with us to make a better life for themselves and for our country, they are trying to make things better. How did they feel on Friday June 25th?

Now we have to live with this decision taken on a vote fuelled by prejudice and fantasy. We will make individual decisions in a different way than before the vote.

It seems inevitable that decisions will be made that will close the door to friends in the EU. As a partnership, we will try more than ever, to ensure that we work and strive to maintain the compassion, care, inclusiveness, diversity, fairness and support for everyone who is and who wants to be in the UK.

Sue Martin

SmithMartin Partnership LLP

Jeremy Corbyn pledges support for Youth Services

A CYPN article - web link‘Labour leadership front-runner Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to fight for statutory youth services if he is chosen to head the party.’

Children and Young People Now have published, on 11.8.15, an article about pledges and commitments made by Jeremy Corbyn.

‘Labour leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn pledges statutory requirement for youth services.
Islington MP Corbyn, who is ahead in the polls to be next Labour leader, said his party should maintain a commitment to a statutory youth service in order to offer young people the benefit of wide-ranging advice, guidance and support to access further and higher education.

His pledge comes just months after Labour ditched its commitment to statutory youth services prior to the general election.

The party’s Youth Manifesto for the 2015 election ruled out forcing councils to provide a minimum level of youth provision, committing instead to a “root and branch” review of youth services should it win the general election.

Corbyn’s pledge to pursue statutory youth services featured in a youth policy document published yesterday.’

SmithMartin Partnership – working with communities

Youth Services



The end of the summer holidays is fast approaching, have we seen the final acts of youth services as clubs and activities struggle to continue.


Youngsters in King’s Lynn park, Norfolk. Across the county around 300 youth projects have closed, as well as council-run youth centres. Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian

Much has been heard of the issues in inner city areas and indeed problems are large and significant. But it was interesting to see in the Society Guardian, Wednesday 24 August 2011 a whole page spread on the cuts to youth services in Norfolk, focusing on the town of King’s Lynn.There are many towns like King’s Lynn across the country and to quote Canon Bill Hurdman, whilst ministering in King’s Lynn,

It has all the problems of an inner city area without any of the buzz”

A group of young people are interviewed outside the supermarket, where they have already been banned from gathering in groups of more than two.

The youth centre at Providence St has been closed, not the most inspiring of places, but at least was a place they young people could go, talk to their mates, have some fun and maybe learn at the same time.

This loss is being replicated across the country. What effect will this have? More importantly how will the morale and aspirations of young people find a place in all our towns.

Sue Martin

SmithMartin Partnership LLP, developing community projects.

Authorities – give away your space?
Become an ideas enterprise…

ideasPic55We were reading an interesting web article about the internet giant AOL and how they had made available, at no charge, the 225,00 square feet of office space they own in Palo Alto – aimed at cultivating entrepreneurs, business start ups and technical ideas.

It started us thinking as to why the model is not more prevalent in the UK.

We hear much about the surge in social enterprise and the third sector taking up contracts to deliver innovative new services. The author of this article has recently been working with a company in the North of England to generate a new business, the aim of which is to train and employ as many young people as possible as the business rolls out.

The experience with the local authority in driving forward the enterprise has not been free wheeling or innovative, to say the least.

After people, the cost of premises and space to think, deliver and store everything from servers to the coffee machine occupies a huge part of the budgetary planning.

Getting the premises, and securing access and delivery in them would have no doubt crippled the nascent business had the young people involved been ‘going it alone’.

Our solution was to find an innovative proprosal, driven by our ethical business model, but supplied by the private sector too. (An idea with currency, but not necessarily the right one?)

We would argue for enterprise start ups the cost of premises from local authority landlords should bear no cost.

Why? How can this be sustainable? Well, encouraging ideas and energy into a community, as in the AOL model, serves to reinvigorate a local economy. It provides cash flow to local, already established businesses.

For the local authority it could see an enabling of redundant public assets, which could be empty at present, to encourage the economic base dramatically – making living, energetic buildings and spaces out of often moribund brick edifices.

In my home town there are a number of empty civic buildings which shadow their access roads, offering echoing corridors, but which do not directly invest in the next generation of rate payers, tax contributors and future employers.

Come on elected members, break out of cost restraint mindsets, ease up a little on portfolio risk in the estates department – and truly create an innovation led, enterprise driven local economic framework.

Don’t be an owner of capital, be the owner of an ideas development factory. The young people in your area would love you for it.

You can see the original article by Douglas MacMillan on the Bloomberg Business website here.

Article: Tim Smith – Partner at SmithMartin LLP

Entrepreneurship – social or otherwise

Europa have just released the latest 2009 state of entrepreneurship survey – which interestingly shows that 45% of Europeans would like to be their own boss, if they could.

The EU survey suggests that entrepreneurs are held in lower regard in Europe than their contemporaries in the USA.

The survey highlights the differing attitudes in the US, Europe and Asia to entrepreneurship, but does show that the preference for self-employment remained stable across all regions.

Women seem to lag behind men and young people as a cohort expressing a preference for self employment.

Those surveyed shared their opinions of entrpreneurial individuals as either ‘job creators’ or as ‘exploiters’.

What was not a feature of the survey, to its detriment we think, is factoring in social entrepreneurship or the context of social enterprise as a vehicle for community business change.

Perhaps if more Europeans knew more about social enterprise or social entrepreneurs,  or the impact the sector can have on communities – the range of relative levels of hesitancy to outright distrust of entrepreneurship expressed might be very different.

What do you think?

You can find the survey synopsis here.

The entry pages to the European Small Business Portal can be found here.

New Youth Citizenship web site

Pass on the message.

Directgov have recently launched  Join – a new set of web pages for young people who are interested in volunteering, organisations that can help and the sources of funds available.

Part of the Youth Citizenship programme the pages offer young people an opportunity to talk about the issues they have, as well as having access to information on government and democracy at a local and national level.

There’s a youthnet blog too and a chance to vote for the Youth Parliament.

Helping young people understand the world better, with a chance to get their voice heard.