A busy start to the new financial year
In keeping with the seAp tradition, the new financial year has got off to a busy start. Graham Parker, seAp's Chair, invited me to the Relate Annual Lecture where Charles Handy the respected Author and Management Philosopher gave a lecture about the three crucial elements of life: learning, working and living and how they overlap and put pressure on our relationships. I also attended the Big Event 2013- the key annual Voluntary sector conference and Advice Fair for groups and organizations across East Sussex. This year it focussed on Communicating and Influencing Effectively. I attended a workshop on Leadership where we were reminded about the difference between leadership and management: leadership is about change and management is about maintenance. As the public and third sector is undergoing continual change, it was timely to look at different leadership styles. The key note speech by Michael O’Toole from the Cabinet Office highlighted the ways in which government were helping the voluntary sector bid for contracts and influence priorities. He is a very good resource and acts as the link between the VCS and government. We also heard from southeast regional VCS network, RAISE, and how it supports the voluntary sector. Locally I attended an event in Hastings run by the Hastings Community Network which focused on the Welfare Reforms and the Anti Poverty Agenda with a keynote speech from Nick Hopkins, an independent consultant specialising in work on poverty, financial and social inclusion, homelessness and welfare reform. I rounded off my recent run of conferences and events at the East Sussex Women of the Year Luncheon in Brighton. The event celebrated the contributions that women have made in East Sussex. At my table, there was a coroner, mayor, NHS trust CEO, and mountain climber. The event also raised money for Domestic Violence charities in East Sussex and we were given some truly horrific figures—2 women every week are murdered by a partner or ex-partner, a third of all women who attempt suicide have a history of domestic abuse, nearly ¾ of all children on the ‘at risk’ register come from abusive homes. We were reminded of the tragic consequences of domestic violence by a survivor and the lifeline provided by charities.