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A busy day in Westminster

11 December 2008

I spoke at a couple of significant consultation events on Tuesday. First, the Future Funding Conference at Central Hall Westminster, where upward of 500 delegates gathered to consider financing opportunities for the VCS.  I understand it was the seventh such annual event but my first. This time last year both the keynote speaker, Charities Minister Kevin Brennan, and I were together at the DCSF helping put the finishing touches to the Children’s Plan.

This was clearly a great opportunity to lay out the context of Big thinking: both the critical importance of making the greatest possible distinct impact with our lottery money in the challenging period ahead, but also ensuring we do our bit, with the sector, to identify what really makes a difference to those most in need so that together we can influence the actions of those whose budgets dwarf ours (including the good old DCSF).

Later in the day Tom Levitt MP hosted a Big thinking event for MPs and Lords at the House of Commons. Tom chairs the important All Party Group on the VCS and has always shown a healthy and helpful interest in how the lottery can best help communities and those most in need. Kevin Brennan was back to offer some kind words. Musical entertainment came courtesy of 51st State, successful Awards for All recipients from in and around Wandsworth.

Their smattering of Christmas songs got us chatting about plans for the holiday season. We discovered that neither our excellent Head of Public Affairs nor I, were in the office on 11 December. He was flying off to Mexico for two weeks. I had planned a day Christmas shopping in Bluewater!  Still, he’ll miss Solihull on Thursday and I won’t – we always have great events in the West Midlands.

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