Whitehall Must Give Power to the People
"Whitehall must give power to the people" - This was the message
delivered by Chief Parliamentary and Political Adviser to the
Deputy Prime Minister, Norman Lamb MP at a conference hosted by
Lord Adebowale, Chief Executive of Turning Point, at the NCVO
The unique event, entitled 'Bridging the Gap - Connecting government priorities and local voices', enabled community members and professionals to come together for the first time to discuss ways in which communities can be more involved in the design and delivery of local health and social care services.
Delegates, who included community
members and professional representatives from central and local
government, heard from a variety of speakers, including Norman Lamb
MP and Basildon community activist, Ricky McCarthy.
The conference was organised as part of the Community Leadership Network, which is health and social care organisation, Turning Point's initiative to support community members who want to build their knowledge, skills and confidence to drive change in their local communities.
As members of the Community Leadership Network, volunteers are able to build links with one another and attend free training, conferences and workshops run by Turning Point Connected Care to help them fulfil their potential as community leaders.
Former drug user and member of
the Community Leadership Network, Ricky McCarthy spoke at the
event, explaining how Turning Point Connected Care trained him to
become a community researcher and provided him with the skills he
needed to set up his own charity. He remarked;
"If you push hard enough you may just get what you want and I want CHANGE."
Also speaking at the event, Chief Parliamentary and Political Adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister, Norman Lamb MP, explained how empowering communities was something he was very passionate about. He said;
"I have an enormous amount of admiration for the work Turning Point is doing. We live in a highly centralised country where, traditionally, change has been directed from Whitehall. Today is about transferring that power to communities and individuals."
Lord Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive of Turning Point, gave the keynote speech at the conference. He commented;
"Today we have a small but rapidly growing band of individuals who don't just want to talk about stuff, but want to change things for the community, not just accept what is given to them but produce what is necessary. Turning Point's role is to help build on that and to give support to help these skills grow."
Organisers hope that the conference can become an annual event, bringing together government and community perspectives on a national stage to promote a community led approach to tackling local problems.