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Digital Switchover grant awarded to Bromley Council on Ageing

Digital UK is to fund Bromley Council on Ageing to run an event about the switchover. This grant, as far as we know, is the first application to the programme’s small grants scheme to be agreed in London.

Evelyn Collington, co-ordinator for Bromley Council for Ageing said, ‘I saw the article about Digital Switch Over in Community Links’ bulletin , phoned  Julie Hunt for some advice on completing the grant application form  and our application was processed within 5 working days.

“We are really happy to be running this event. The grant will cover its cost and older people will be reassured that they won’t be left without TV.  Gary Davis, Digital Switchover Project Officer for Bromley, is going to give a presentation on how the switchover will work and answer any questions.

Do join us on 5th March at Community House at 10.30am and stay for the buffet lunch. Thanks to Community Links Bromley for all your help.”

If you would like more information on how to apply for a grant for your group, please contact Gary Davis, Digital Switchover Project Officer on 07877 768307 or email Gary@slcvspartnership.org.uk.

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Tough Choices –  review of the first public meeting on LBB’s Budget proposals  

Stephen Blann, CLB’s Policy and Networks Officer writes,
“The first of four public meetings was held on the morning of the 8th November. Well over 100 people attended and a diverse range of views were expressed, some of which I have captured  below. Do you think the right issues were raised? Or have they missed the point? Are there issues you want to ask about, or ideas for savings? Only one participant for example directly asked about cuts to the voluntary sector. Three more meetings are planned – 17th November in Orpington, 23rd November in Bromley and 28th November in Beckenham, all at 7.30pm. More details in the council leaflet.

The council needs to reduce its expenditure by £15m in 2012-13 and identify further reductions in 2013-14. Over four years to 2014 the council needs to reduce further its net budget from £200m to £150m. The council published information about its financial strategy, considered in early autumn by the executive of senior councillors.

 Of the wide range of issues raised at this first meeting, some were very detailed and specific others were more general. Many people said the council was doing a good job in tough times; others were more sceptical. There was only one question about the impact of the cuts on the voluntary sector and the people it serves.

There was a panel of senior Councillors, Portfolio Holders, who responded to the issues raised. The issues included:

Q: “How much back office staff were being reduced instead of services?”
: Savings of £7m were already identified including joint management of libraries with Bexley, and a pay freeze for staff and  councillors, but services would also need to be reduced 

Q: “The council has considerable reserves, why can’t these be used?”
: it is not good practice to use capital to support revenue expenditure. However ,  as the return on bank investments is low, so some reserves will be used for capital investment to save projects, whilst other reserves will be invested in property. An example cited was the plan to buy shops and some residential property on and adjacent to Bromley High Street, south of the theatre, for a redevelopment scheme that will generate income in the meantime.

Q: “The frequency of buses was too high in some areas, could they be reduced to save money?”
A : Buses are under used at some times and the council had asked TfL to review this, as it has an effect on the precept the council has to pay.

Q: “Could an administrative charge to the recipient be made for freedom passes?”
A: As a London-wide scheme this might not be feasible, but the Leader asked for a show of hands as to whether people would be prepared to pay a charge for their pass and most people agreed.

Q: Why is the council and councillors not more public in campaigning against the cuts nationally - for example joining the rallies?
A: The councillors don’t think rallies are constructive. They are however lobbying very hard with ministers, but Bromley has always been given lower budgets against areas with more deprivation or larger ethnic minority communities.

Q: “There is an assumption that the voluntary sector will pick up people who are no longer entitled to services as a result of cuts but many are already oversubscribed or have waiting lists. What assessment of the impact on vulnerable groups, including lack of alternative services, has been made?”
A: the council recognises there are serious implications but may have no choice. It values the voluntary sector greatly and will continue to fund it but very much on the basis of contracts for specific services not grants and there will have to be efficiencies so most money goes to vulnerable people.

Q: “How much procurement is there with other councils?
A: Bromley belongs to a consortium and some shared services have been agreed but it may be possible to do more.

Q: “Why the school crossing service being cut?”
A: this was actually a reduction made last year, postponed to this year. LBB funding will cease ,but some schools are paying or seeking sponsorship to retain their crossing. It is not obligatory and only 18 of 46 schools actually met the criteria in guidance of having more than 15 unaccompanied children using the crossing.
There were also questions on limiting illegal immigration and lobbying the government not to increase funding of European Commission at a time of cuts, which the councillors agreed with. 

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Carers Bromley receives health good causes money from local society lottery award

Communities across England, Scotland and Wales have started to benefit from an anticipated £50 million a year ‘good causes money’ raised by local society lotteries through the new Health Lottery.

Carers Bromley was one of three projects in South East London awarded local society lottery funding from the People’s Health Trust, the independent charity responsible for deciding where the health good causes money is most needed and spent.

People’s Health Trust’s chair, Professor Jennie Popay said, “Our funding comes from  local society lotteries and it’s really important for us to show people in the communities that these lotteries represent how their money is being spent to tackle the social causes of ill-health and promote well being. Our funding will provide an injection of new money into the charitable sector to support local activity at a time when it is really needed. And by working with well-established partners and local groups, we know that we're investing in the people and neighbourhoods that can benefit the most from this funding.”

Lynne Powrie, Chief Executive of Carers Bromley was delighted with the award of the £46,801 grant, “We are thrilled to receive this grant from the Health Lottery. We will be able to increase our support to young adult carers, aged 16- 25 years, in a more focussed, flexible way and are looking forward to using this funding to benefit these young people.”

Carers Bromley has recently launched a new website. It includes, for the first time, the ability to make on-line donations and referrals. Visit www.carersbromley.org.uk. and find out more about the work of Carers Bromley.

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Mottingham Movers & Groovers increase local volunteering by 42%

Working closely with Bromley Council and an active local resident/volunteer co-ordinator, Mottingham Movers & Groovers helped encourage local people, the Safer Neighbourhood Team and small shops in the area to become Snow Friends. The Snow Friend scheme, set up by Bromley Council, supplies free salt and shovels to community groups volunteering to clear neighbours’ pathway as well as their own.

Using the Movers & Groovers social networking and media sites  to raise awareness and encourage local people to get involved and volunteer their time and energy, we saw a 42% increase in participation.

To find out how you can pitch in and help when the winter weather sets in follow this link to LBB website. To read a case study of how Movers and Groovers increased participation click here.

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Funding the Future – Important conference event

Date: Tuesday 6 December 2011
Venue: The Royal National Hotel, Bedford Way, London WC1H 0DG

Community Links Bromley is pleased to announce an exciting partnership conference bringing together the latest thinking, practical tools and support to help you fund your future. Thirty-three free places have been set aside for Bromley Groups. At the event, you’ll hear from leading sector experts in funding, innovation and enterprise and be supported to put into practice what has inspired you to change.
Who should attend from your group?

What can you expect?

This conference is being organised by South London CVS Partnership and is funded by each of the six Councils for Voluntary Service (CVS) covering the boroughs of Bromley, Richmond, Kingston, Sutton, Merton, Croydon and. Click here to download the flyer with more information.

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A Child’s Journey in Bromley

Children and Families Minister Tim Loughton, complemented Bromley on its partnership working around child protection at the Safeguarding Children Board’ tenth Annual Conference at the Warren on Thursday 6 October.

During his keynote speech, the Minister referred to the successful ‘Volunteers in Child Protection Scheme’ run on behalf of Bromley by Community Service Volunteers. He called it “an extra pair of hands” provided by volunteers that can establish empathy with families.

The audience at the event, entitled ‘Child Protection in a Changing Context - A Child’s Journey in Bromley’, comprised 125 Bromley professionals including social workers, health visitors, head teachers, community providers and child safeguarding experts.
Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Gillian Pearson said: “Building on the strong partnership forum and our local Safeguarding Children Board, we are focused on actions and outcomes, not simply talk.

“We have effective early intervention services delivered in partnership at our Children and Family Centres, Bromley Y, Bromley Children’s Project and our schools and early years’ settings, as well as the Volunteers in Child Protection scheme. The relationships that drive this important work have to be maintained and it is a tribute to those involved in Bromley Council’s social services and safeguarding that we have such successful and vibrant partnerships.”

The Volunteers in Child Protection (ViCP) scheme matches volunteers with families with children on child protection plans. The scheme is always looking for volunteers who can understand the difficulties faced by families and provide friendship, advice and support. Volunteers work closely with Social Services to complement to the services they offer. For volunteering opportunities in Bromley, please contact Toni Rushton at toni.rushton@bromley.gov.uk.

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Congratulations to Bromley Mencap and a successful BIG Lottery bid

Bromley Mencap is celebrating with the news that it is among 59 groups sharing over £14 million in National Lottery good cause funding from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG).
The money comes from BIG’s Reaching Communities programme, which aims to help those most in need and build stronger communities.

Eddie Lynch, Chief Executive of Bromley Mencap said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this grant in our Diamond Jubilee year. This will enable us to provide independent support for families and disabled people who are most in need. Our family services include our telephone helpline, advocacy for families and support for independent living. This will lead to reduced social isolation, improved quality of life and access to the mainstream community. This is the core business of our organisation and the funding will enable us to reach more families through working in partnership with others.”

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CLB appointed by Digital Outreach to guide local groups through  Bromley’s digital switchover

""TV across the UK is going digital. This means the existing analogue TV signal will be switched off and replaced with a new, stronger digital TV signal. The London TV region will start to switch to digital from 4 April 2012.

Community Links Bromley has been appointed by Digital Outreach to work with the voluntary and community sector in Bromley during the run-up to the digital TV switchover by providing grants, materials, free training, support and guidance to enable you to help the people you support. Gary Davis will be helping front-line groups across Bromley to support their more vulnerable clients in making the switch to digital TV, which happens from April 2012.

We know that some people you support may be worried about the switch to digital TV. They will turn to a local organisation that they know and trust, such as yours, for information and advice. Our core target groups are:

What we can offer

To find out more about the project or to organise a briefing session, order leaflets and promotional material  or the small grant scheme, please email Gary at gary@slcvspartnership.org.uk or phone 07877 768307.

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Movers & Groovers now formally launched in Penge

""After the success of Movers & Groovers in Mottingham, Penge residents, organisations and small businesses can now benefit from joining their own group. Penge Movers & Groovers is a great opportunity to find out about local events, share ideas, and get the help and support you might need to get more involved with your local community and put some of your great ideas into action.

To find out why your organisation should get involved, the range of activities your group could help offer, and the levels of support your beneficiaries could access, visit http://www.moversandgroovers.org/penge/index.php . Alternatively, contact Jo Guest CLB’s Community Cohesion Officer on 020 8315 1917.

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Consultation event in partnership with Bromley Police

Date: Tuesday 15 November
Venue: Christ Church Anerley
Time: 9.30-2pm (lunch provided)
Bromley Police, in partnership with Community Links Bromley are holding a consultation event to look at how crimes against refugee and immigrant communities’ are dealt with by the Police and to identify any areas for improvement.

We would like to invite you to participate in this event by sharing your views and experiences, good and bad and helping us to shape the future of relationships and priorities with Bromley Police.

To book your place, download this form from our website.

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Launch of new charitable organisation for older people Veneratio

Veneratio is about trying to reverse trends of social exclusion among older people and optimising engagement, opportunities and enjoyment at the later stages of life. This is achieved by networking older people together and facilitating events and activities tailored to older peoples' own preferences and needs. Read more on the website www.veneratio.org.uk  

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Blue Badge - Fraud and misuse operation

Do you have information about anyone misusing a Blue Badge? If you have any information, please call in confidence 020 8313 4094 or go to www.bromley.gov.uk/report. The council is committed to acting quickly on any information received and taking steps to prosecute criminal activity.

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Future of Bromley Youth and Children’s Centres

Bromley Council is to continue direct operation of four fixed youth centres in the borough in addition to its mobile unit.

The four centres, which will continue to be run by the Council, are Castlecombe in Mottingham; The Link in St Paul’s Cray; The Spitfire in Biggin Hill and Streetwise in Penge and Anerley. In addition, the Council is working closely with local people and community organisations to find ways to continue providing services for young people at the remaining two sites - The Duke in St Mary Cray and M2 at Bromley Common. Once in place, these will replace Council run services so that the necessary saving can be realised.

The Council will continue to fund six Children and Family Centres.The original proposal announced earlier in the year suggested reducing the eighteen centres to three to meet the need for substantial budget savings. However, by re-distributing the available budget the Council can meet the needs of the communities, which would benefit from having a children’s centre in the neighbourhood by retaining double that number.

The centres, which will continue to provide services funded by the Council, are Community Vision (Penge and Anerley), Blenheim (Orpington and Cray Valley East), Cotmandene (Cray Valley West), Biggin Hill (Rural Bromley), Castlecombe (Mottingham and Chislehurst North) and Burnt Ash (Bromley Town/Plaistow and Sundridge).
Discussions are also under way for the remaining centres to be maintained by alternative operators such as adjacent schools and community groups on the understanding that the Council cannot continue funding services from these sites.

Any alternative arrangements to keep these centres open must be in support of young children otherwise the Government is likely to ‘claw-back’ the capital funding given to build the centres in the first place.

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Top marks for recycling

Following the introduction of the food waste recycling scheme almost one year ago, the amount of household waste being recycled by Bromley’s residents has climbed to over 50%.

By becoming only the second London borough to top the 50% mark for recycling household waste, Bromley now stands nip and tuck alongside neighbouring Bexley as being the best performing London borough for recycling. This achievement comes as a direct ... read more on the Town Talk website.

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Bromley Mencap shortlisted for Guardian Public Services Awards

Bromley Mencap has been shortlisted in this year’s Guardian Public Services Awards, in the Carers, Families and Communities Award in the Service Delivery category. Eddie Lynch, Bromley Mencap’s Chief Executive explains “We were shortlisted for our Mutual Carers Service which is part funded by Bromley Council’s Carer Respite Grant. Our Mutual Carers Service provides a range of support for older parents/carers and their adult sons and daughters with learning disabilities to enable them to continue living together independently in their own homes. We are delighted that the value and quality of our service has been recognised at national level”

The full Awards Shortlist appears in the Guardian and can be found here:

The winners will be announced at an Awards Evening in London on November 22nd. The Awards will be presented by the broadcaster Nicky Campbell. Tickets to attend the Evening, which includes a Champagne Reception and a three course meal at the London Intercontinental Hotel, Park Lane, can be purchased by contacting the Guardian.

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New chair for Community Links Bromley

Sue Southon has replaced Jean Levy as the new Chair of Community Links Bromley. Jean stepped down at the recent AGM and whilst she will be a hard act to follow, as our Vice Chair Pat Wade pointed out, we know Sue will more than live up to the challenge.

Sue recently retired from her post as Director of Community Services with the PCT. Towards the end of that time she was seconded to CLB and was able to experience the organisation from the inside.

We are once again in a time of change, but ready and willing to meet the challenges ahead. With new leadership from both Sue and Colin and the continued commitment of all the staff, CLB is looking forward to developing and strengthening further its future. 

The AGM minutes, financial report, and photos of the event will be published in the coming weeks.

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