Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd has visited voluntary and community groups in Hertfordshire to see their work first hand and discuss the government’s vision for a Big Society.
The minister visited Number 1 Hatfield, to meet volunteers who run a community centre and provide a range of activities and services designed to bring local people together. He spoke to people in the centre’s internet cafe, visited a playgroup to see young children enjoying creative activities and met volunteers and staff running an English language course.
The minister then went to Hertfordshire Community Foundation which aims to tackle disadvantage within the local community. There he met with Foundation staff and Trustees together with representatives from other local groups, including Ian Richardson, Chair of Herts Community Assembly, Michal Siewniak, of MENTER, Bal Singh and Tom Field of Khalsa Football Academy, Fiona Macaulay of Dacorum Horizons and Mark Mitchell, CEO of Community Action Dacorum. They discussed their concerns about the future and also what support they would need to access new opportunities.
Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said:
Hertfordshire Community Foundation does much to improve the lives of local people including supporting initiatives like Number 1 Hatfield, Dacorum Horizons and Khalsa Football Association.
The government wants to encourage a society where people do things for each other. We are giving power back to local people so that they can make a difference. Groups like those I’ve seen and heard about today have a hugely important role in our vision for a big society, coordinating and supporting social action. The government wants to help charities and voluntary groups in Hertfordshire and across the country. I visited the county today to find out about the challenges that they face.
David Fitzpatrick, Hertfordshire Community Foundation CEO, said:
This county is often perceived as being universally prosperous. Our work has highlighted that there are many areas of real need, which can only be addressed by the local knowledge we bring to bear. It is genuinely pleasing that the Minister for Civil Society is able to spend time with us, seeing how we can support his wish to develop the ‘Big Society’ and be a suitable channel for funding and support into Hertfordshire.
Notes to editors
1.For details of Herts Community Assembly, please see http://www.hertsca.org.uk/ [external website]
2.For details of MENTER, please see www.menter.org.uk [external website]
3.Dacorum Horizons is a local Hertfordshire community project funded as part of the nation Learning Revolution to encourage people into informal adult learning. The project delivers a wide range of informal ‘taster’ learning sessions to members of the public.The Learning Revolution encourages organisations such as schools, libraries and community centres to open up their facilities for learning - at low or no cost. This “open space” movement will support people in organising their own learning groups. Digital technology is a vital part of this Learning Revolution: using broadcasting and the internet to enrich learning and reach people who would otherwise not have access.
4.For Community Action Dacorum, please see http://www.dacorumcvs.org.uk/ [external website]
5.For Khalsa Football Academy, please see http://www.thekfa.com/ [external website]