Times of change for Adur Voluntary Action

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Adur District Council and West Sussex County Council have announced their intention to purchase development support for Adur’s voluntary sector from Brighton and Hove Community Works from April 1, 2016, instead of my own charity, Adur Voluntary Action.

So myself and the Board of Adur Voluntary Action would like, through the Herald, to thank these local authorities for their support for our work over the past 30 years: their secure funding was central to our ability to draw in substantial further resources from outside the area.

A truly co-operative ethos built up, and we grew to know well and greatly respect many past and present elected members and staff, whom we shall miss.

Some achievements in particular spring to mind over my own decade of involvement, under the wise guidance of AVA chairman John Lambourne, and our Board. The support of the government’s Single Regeneration Budget was very important in helping AVA to build capacity in the years of this century, and this was followed by our delivery of the innovatory Health Trainer project.

The Partnership of Older Persons project broke new ground in bringing groups together, and AVA strongly endorsed the former Adur Local Strategic Partnership, ably chaired for many years by Pat Beresford, and with such enthusiastic district council staff input.

Our Adur Volunteer Centre went from strength to strength once the two local authorities chose to invest in it, seven years ago, managed over this period by Keri Hamblin, with support from Karen Lewis, who both became founts of knowledge in this field.

Euan Mumford has reliably issued our AVA News every month for the past decade, competing with the Herald for a fine line in punning headlines.

Other great projects were the Disability Access website, funded by the Big Lottery and set up through the energies of our Access and Mobility Group, chaired by Martin Osment.

This was followed by the Big Lottery support for Adur Online Learners, which thanks to Andy Brook and his team introduced some 150 people to emailing and internet use. This is still continuing through his I-Pad clubs and the willingness of our staff and volunteers to help members of the public move ahead in what can be a challenging field.

AVA’s partnership with Lancing Parish Council, through the auspices of Colin Hunt, Ann Bridges and Brenda Collard saw the launch over three years ago of Lancing Village Action, in North Road.

It’s still going strong, due to our great volunteer team, co-ordinated by ex-health trainer Sarah Leeding and informally led by another ex-health trainer Lynne Emery.

Lancing Village Action is truly pleased to host the Lancing Food Bank and we have enjoyed getting to know their committed team.

The move into the Old School House, two years ago, gave the chance to begin to develop its role as the community hub it has become, by letting the meeting room at reasonable cost, and providing support facilities like printing, copying and internet access for visitors.

Both the Old School House and Lancing Village Action are now key contact points for new volunteers. Progress was made over the decade in establishing further secure local networks, including Adur Community Network (chaired by Robin Olivier for many years), and AVA remains deeply committed to Adur Churches Forum, Adur Community Transport, Adur Special Needs, Esteem and Sompting Big Local.

In conclusion, it has been our pleasure to offer the best support of which we have been capable, often of necessity anonymously, to so many groups and individuals over many years. Those who would like to influence how AVA maps out its own future in this time of change are very welcome to get in touch.

Adrian Barritt

Adur Voluntary Action

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