Two local MPs were in town recently to take part in a debate about the Big Society with representatives from South Gloucestershire’s voluntary and community sector.
MPs Jack Lopresti (Filton & Bradley Stoke) and Steve Webb (Thornbury & Yate) heard about the diversity and value of the work which is already being done in local communities by the voluntary and community organisations, addressed concerns about government spending cuts threatening these services and answered questions on the delivery of the Big Society.
The event took place at Baileys Court Activity Centre on Friday 10th December.
Mr Webb said after the event:
“Voluntary groups and charities play a crucial role in providing support and services for local people in South Gloucestershire. Though we all recognise that money is tight, the conference was a reminder of the great value that voluntary groups provide”
Mr Lopresti added:
“I was extremely pleased for the opportunity to speak in the debate, and to see, firsthand, the dedication, passion and professionalism of the people I had the chance to meet. I look forward to visiting some of these projects in the very near future and to give my support to them in any way I can.”
“I have secured a debate in the House of Commons, on 21st December about ‘How the Big Society promotes Social Mobility’ and I will be using some of what I learnt last Friday.”
Helen Black, Chief Officer of CVS South Gloucestershire said:
“We were really pleased to work in partnership in Southern Brooks Community Partnership, and to welcome the MPs together to this fantastically well attended event. We hope the useful dialogue begun here between the MPs and the voluntary sector will continue, so were delighted to hear both Steve Webb and Jack Lopresti are keen to do so.”
Julie Close, Director of Southern Brooks Community Partnership, added:
“We welcome the Big Society and the opportunities it will bring to encourage more local people to be actively engaged in their neighbourhoods. The conference highlighted the need to properly support and train volunteers which requires funding; funding which faces threat under the spending cuts.”
The event was sound-recorded by Bradley Stoke Radio and it is hoped that the material will be broadcast in the new year.
CVS South Gloucestershire is currently planning a similar event with MP Chris Skidmore (Kingswood) in the New Year, in partnership with infrastructure organisation The Kingswood, Chase & Kings Forest Community Project.
Photo (L-R): Julie Close, Director, Southern Brooks Community Partnership; Steve Webb Liberal Democrat MP for Thornbury & Yate; Jack Lopresti, Conservative MP for Filton & Bradley Stoke and the Pensions Minister; Helen Black, Chief Officer, CVS South Gloucestershire.
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