Rhythmix goes to Whitehall

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Brighton and Hove charities and community groups go to Whitehall to express concern about impact of cuts on most vulnerable in society.

A group of Brighton and Hove charities and community groups with their home at Community Base went to Whitehall yesterday, 27th July 2010, to express their concerns about the future of frontline services to Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society. The visit was arranged by Caroline Lucas, MP for the Brighton Pavilion constituency where Community Base is located. Ms Lucas sought the meeting with the minister after attending a discussion at Community Base's open day on 5th July where frontline groups from across Brighton and Hove expressed concern about the effects that government cuts would have on the most vulnerable members of society. Those representing frontline groups at Community Base at the meeting were Mark Walker (SCIP), Michelle Bridgman and Rory Smith (Gender Trust), Liz Hall (Carousel), Sarah Bourne (Brighton and Hove Volunteers), Lucy Stone (Rhythmix), Colin Holden (East Sussex Credit Union), Carl McAdam (Amaze), Jane Frost (Assert), Jennifer Redman (Cruse), Colin Chalmers (Community Base) and Umit Ozturk (Mediterranean Resources Network). Caroline Lucas MP and Emma Daniel of the Community and Voluntary Sector Forum also attended the meeting.

Everyone at the meeting got a chance to talk to the minister, who recognised there were gaps in services for people with learning disabilities, people with mental health issues and others but said funding cuts were coming. Mr Hurd said that the present funding crisis presented a fantastic opportunity to do things differently and we could expect big changes by the end of the year.
Colin Chalmers, director of Community Base, says, "If the Big Society is about grassroots groups helping those most in need, providing cost-effective services without unnecessary bureaucracy and responding to people's needs instead of top-down directives then Community Base is the Big Society in one building. "The groups who went to London today, along with hundreds of other frontline charities and community organisations across Brighton and Hove, provide incredibly cost-effective, much needed services - but are very concerned about the future of these services if cuts are made without thinking through the impact they will have." The Minister for Civil Society accepted an invitation from the meeting to visit Community Base and see for himself the work of the 27 charities and community groups in the building. Photo and notes about the groups from Community Base attending the meeting at www.communitybase.org/whitehallvisit