A conference was held at the Hilton Hotel on Saturday 22nd March attended by about a hundred people. It opened with a talk by Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. The voluntary sector makes a very significant contribution with an income of 18 billion pounds, 40% coming from voluntary donations. Over the last 5 years the biggest feature has been partnership agreements to deliver services on behalf of the Government. In the last year there have been two major reviews, one by the Treasury and the other to look at the legal and regulation framework.

Trevor Pickup gave a local perspective. Two years ago the Government announced new thinking on community development. There would be no more big capital developments such as we see in St Mary=s. The new approach is to work through Local Strategic Partnerships. The Southampton Community and Voluntary Sector Network is part of the new arrangement.

Henry Pavey, Local Strategic Partnership Coordinator, spoke of the successes and the problems of the City, such as 63% of people in Bargate Ward living in means-tested households. A strategy for the Southampton Partnership is being written. It will be out for consultation in July and the final version will be published in time to influence business plans for the Financial Year 2004.

The Conference ended with a light hearted exercise in writing headlines for AThe Daily News@ in 2015: ASaints Top the League for the Fifth Year! Ethelburt Avenue Made Up at Last!

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