Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd has visited local community groups in Sheffield to see first hand the work they do delivering public services on the ground and to hear their views on the Government’s vision for a Big Society.
He started the visit at Zest, a community development trust, which already delivers a number of public service contracts, as well as running an innovative Healthy Living Centre for local residents.
During the visit he spoke to staff about the advice services and sports outreach projects they run for young people and the work they do through their ‘One Stop Shop for Employment’ and their ‘Training and Enterprise’ programme to help local people back into work.
Mr Hurd went on to meet residents and community activists from the Broomhall area of the city, who as part of the Broomhall Group of Groups, have joined forces to bring together all the different local organisations working to improve their neighbourhood. He was shown some of the different classes available for local residents at the multi-cultural Broomhall Community Centre and discussed many of the key opportunities and challenges ahead for civil society organisations.
Mr Hurd said:
What today has shown is that it’s the people on the ground in these communities who know best what needs to happen to really do something about the issues they care about. All the organisations and activists I have seen today are already making a real difference to the lives of people in their local neighbourhoods, whether it’s through sports outreach programmes, projects to tackle health inequalities, or programmes to break down the barriers to real community empowerment and engagement work.
“As part of our vision for a Big Society, we want to make it easier for charities and community groups like the ones today to have more power to help others and to make sure they can join together, in the way the Broomhall groups already have, to control and improve their own environments.
Find out more about Zest Community Development Trust [external website]