Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year! 2011 is going to be a wee bugger

New Year finds me clear headed in Cornwall. Last night we were invited by my friend Emily Scott to her fabulous restaurant, The Harbour, in Port Isaac. Emily is a stunning chef and last night she really treated us. We had red onion jam and goats cheese tartlets, locally caught crab in a light salad, monkfish in pancetta with lemon mash and pannacotta and raspberries followd by chocolate truffles, yum! The village gathered outside the restaurant which is at the head of the slipway for some super fireworks and a male (nude) swimmming race across the harbour which the health and safety police have not been able to put a stop to, yet. This morning I have awoken to views of the surrounding countryside, including an unbelievably large cow.

Scanning Twitter I see many are posting their predictions for 2011, whilst I'm tempted to join in, I think it will be a bugger of a year with much rear guard action and can only advise we keep our spirits and left hook up, and not pull our punches as my dear old Dad used to say.

I was over the moon yesterday when the announcement came that my friend Stephen Bubb, ceo of acevo, was to be made Sir Stephen. As Vice Chair of acevo I have had the chance to work closely with Stephen who is a very rare bird indeed. Whilst he cultivates a persona based on hedonism he is, in fact, like a swan, frantically paddling under the water to promote and these days, preserve all that is best in the third sector. I have always admired his approach which, if you are a fan or irony, which I am, is self deprecating. In any event, Stephen is bloody effective and a good laugh, so well done to you dear and the team at acevo who, like my SEL lovelies, work like stink for the sector!

Other honours included OBE's for SEL board member Gordon D'Silva, founder and leading light behind the ground breaking Training for Life, and Steve Wyler, Director at our old friends the Development Trust Association. It will be organisations like Training for Life, the DTA and Community Links, featured in a shattering article by Patrick Butler in last weeks Guardian, that will be picking up the pieces of the cuts. I could not believe my eyes when I read the piece, much of it in the words of David Robinson, one of the most respected leaders of community work anywhere in the world. He told us that this beacon of good practice, much needed in such trying times, was itself facing closure. That can only mean one thing, no institution, group or icon is above the waterline.

So, when the going gets tough the tough get going? Well yes, but many of us don't work for the tough, we represent society's least heard, least valued and most vulnerable, so that isn't terribly helpful. We shall all need this break, like boxers we have gone to our corners for some refreshment, and when the bell sounds we will have to come out fighting!

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