Sector groups gather to plan riot response
Over a hundred charities and community groups came together yesterday (Wednesday 15 September) to explore the sector's role in responding to last month’s disturbances.
Frontline staff, policy makers, young people and service users discussed some of the complex causes behind the unrest, and the role that the voluntary sector can play both in supporting those affected and working with people that were involved. They were then asked to identify key messages to feed back to Government.
The event, which took place at the Rich Mix Centre in east London, was also attended by Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd MP and two members of the Communities and Victims Panel: Darra Singh and Simon Marcus.
Attendees discussed a wide range of complex issues including unemployment, relationships with the police, community cohesion, inequality and cuts to services. Many highlighted the strong role that the voluntary and community sector plays in bringing communities together and reaching out to marginalised groups.
Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of NCVO, said:
'Voluntary organisations, with their vast experience of working at the heart of communities and giving a voice to disadvantaged groups, have a crucial role to play in helping us to understand what has happened and to look towards some solutions. We are glad that attendees today were able to share their experiences, ideas and concerns, and will ensure that it is all fed back to the highest levels of government.'
Nick Hurd MP said:
'Charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises are pulling together to deal with the causes and consequences of the riots. There’s no doubt that the expertise and relationships of trust built by the voluntary sector over many years will play a critical role in preventing the recent violence from happening again. The Government has commissioned independent research into the underlying causes of the riots. Action resulting from this must be in partnership with the voluntary sector.'
Sir Stuart's believes grassroots organisations have a crucial role to play in helping understand the complexity of the disturbances. Our member's magazine Engage also has a personal blog about troubles from a first-hand witness.
We will now be drawing together all the content from the summit into a briefing paper for Government. Please also feel free to feed in your comments on the Review and Renew online space to help inform the discussion.