Agenda 21


You may do if you are as old as me! I was reminded of this recently during a meeting with Bioregional and officers from the council’s Sustainability Team. We were  talking about One Planet Sutton and thinking about how we can support the voluntary and community sector to operate in ways that promotes sustainability and to see this as a key part of social justice. The reference to Local Agenda 21 is that at that time (back in the 1990’s) they talked about sustainability as being a like a three legged stool - social economic and environmental.


The recent meeting involved me asking loads of stupid questions as environmental sustainability is not my field, but I do understand that looking at social, economic and environmental sustainability impacts on social justice – something that I know more about.


So, in Sutton over the next 18 months Bioregional will be working with Sutton CVS and other voluntary and community sector organisations to talk about fuel poverty, reducing building costs by implementing building related sustainability and cost reduction measures and encouraging and supporting local organisations to undertake their own sustainability audits –you may be surprised to see that a key part of the audit looks at health and happiness and this can only be a good thing! So if you want to find out more or how you can be involved then please get in touch with me.


09:09, 17 Nov 2017 by Sara Thomas

How do we use all of the data to make informed decisions around need and resources?

A recent presentation at the Safer Sutton Partnership Board – looking at the Sensor Measuring Public Perceptions of Risk and Security in Sutton – led to a discussion about the range and breadth of data that is collected and collated in Sutton, but also a recognition of how we need to make sure that the voices of all members of our community are heard.

The presentation fed back the top 5 issues affecting Suttons Communities and whilst not seeking to denigrate how people feel these can appear to be very ‘traditional issues’ e.g. speeding, litter, inconsiderate parking, undesirable groups, groups of youths!

So - is this data really enabling us to get to the crux of what affects modern Sutton?  Further dialogue at the meeting revealed that a recent survey of young people in Sutton around safety showed that for example, some young people don’t feel safe in parks and a significant number of young people have witnessed a crime. Do we really understand how safe the Black and Minority Ethnic community in Sutton feel when we know that hate crime is on the increase; are we happy that we understand the community safety issues that women and girls face – especially in light of the recent and ongoing media spotlight on sexual offences; have we successfully sought the views of Disabled People and how they experience their daily lives?

One of the things that we can do collectively is to join up our consultation and research plans and develop an agreed approach to how we consult and engage, to avoid consultation fatigue and to ensure that we do reach all parts of our diverse communities. The Sutton Compact has just started a piece of working looking at both of these. If you want be involved in this please let me know. We are hoping to be able to feedback what comes out of this work at the Sutton Compact Annual Conference that is being held on the 13th March 2018 in the morning. Get in touch if you want to find out more.


p.s. just thought the opening line from Mark Twain summed up how I sometimes feel when trying to use data to make decisions – I am not implying however that anyone is lying!!!

08:28, 07 Nov 2017 by Sara Thomas

My blog this week is focused on CAKE!


As a non-sweet eater – preferring savoury food – I was FORCED to take part in our McMillan Coffee Morning this week.


The staff at Sutton CVS arranged the event and baked the amazing cakes. We had cup-cakes, a coffee, cake, a chocolate cake, a coconut and frangipane cake, a chocolate cheese cake and a sponge cake – all decorated to celebrate Halloween.

 Macmillan Cakes


So apart from feeling pretty sick afterwards, it made me think about the importance of a staff team like ours coming together outside of the formal work structure to showcase the talents and skills of team members (I must admit that I didn’t bake a cake as I don’t have any skills in that area!) and to have the time and space to just talk to each other!


Watching the event unfold as a kind of participant observer I beamed with pride at the organisation that had gone into it and how team members worked together, the time and imagination in the cake making and the comfortable atmosphere in which we played Halloween related games and the cake eating and tea drinking took place.


Good strong teams like this are key to making events like this successful and over the coming months these skills and talent will be used to bring to you a range of events including our Trustee Week activities; our Small Groups Network; a Disability Summit,  and of course our AGM. Please visit our website for more information on how you can involved at or visit our eventbrite page to sign up for one or more of our events.


I look forward to seeing you


11:16, 02 Nov 2017 by Sara Thomas

Leading, Leadership, Manager, Management – all terms that I guess those of who see ourselves as leaders are grappling with. I am on a journey of self-reflection which has enabled me to speak to people in world of CVS’s, friends and colleagues in the voluntary and community sector in Sutton and with my own staff team.

What defines a good leader and what do I need to do to get there? I have started by doing some reading in my spare time and I found ‘The Power of Soft’ by Hilary Gallo an interesting read – so interesting that I have asked him to come and do some work with the SCVS team and with the recently established Voluntary and Community Sector CEO Leadership Forum.

I think it is important that in the voluntary and community we are able to lead our own organisations with passion, authenticity and empowerment of staff, trustees and volunteers. Leaders in the sector also need to lead in a similar way I think and I am looking forward over the next year or so to experimenting with new ways of leading – so if you have any feedback or comments let me know.

11:40, 25 Oct 2017 by Sara Thomas


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