I have just finished being non-voting chair of the judging panel for our awards – once again the range and quality of work going on doesn’t fail to impress. Judging doesn’t come tougher than this and well done to those making the difficult choices.

I have been covering work for the vacant Community Programme Manager position which, I am delighted and relieved to say, is now ably filled by Karen Grundy. Although, having said that, I have had the chance over the past few weeks to meet a number of people and organisations that needed our help and support. In a time when all I seem to hear that organisations are facing closure due to funding it is heartening to see so many new initiatives springing up in Stockton-on-Tees. It is the small, community based organisations that define our sector and the fact that individuals and small groups respond to those in need without any thought of large contracts and money. It has been a pleasure working with you.

I attended an away day with fellow trustees from the St Teresa’s Hospice of which I am a board member. Once again, the chance to have time out to discuss future priorities and strategies, as well as being brought up to speed on policy developments, proved invaluable. I think it is important that, especially for senior employees in the VCSE, we take on voluntary roles of governance. Also we make sure we have time to discuss things properly.

Yesterday I read an article in the Guardian about Charity Commission comments regarding the failed Garden Bridge in London. How can a vanity project, ridiculously conceived, supported by a privileged, entitled elite and appallingly managed whilst using up valuable taxpayers’ money be regarded in the same light as all of the thousands of genuine local charities helping their communities and people in need? Grrrrrrr……………………

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