Thursday, 1 May 2014


North London is not my usual haunt, but yesterday I was off up to Dalston to see Jake Ferguson who runs the Hackney CVS. Jake is a good guy; professional, dynamic and "edgy" in a good way. He is on the Bubb approved list. He had organised for me to meet with some of his team and some of the local sector people.

It was a fun afternoon. There is some really impressive work going on there. For example they have established a consortium of local charities and social enterprises, called "One Hackney", to bid for contracts in a "special purpose vehicle" (ugly name I know). It's an example to other areas and ACEVO is keen to support more work in council areas to develop such consortia. We were active with the Knowsley CVS, for example, in establishing their consortium.

If as a sector we want to win more contracts to run people-powered public services, we need to combine not compete. ACEVO has been developing a much better relationship with the CVS movement and with NAVCA, and it's a sign of that better working that Joe Irvin, who runs NAVCA, is one of my Board members. So he tells me what to do. Well.....sort of.

They have developed a very strong relationship with a progressive CCG on the health side, and work well with the council, despite funding cuts. There are well over 2000 third sector bodies in Hackney so it's a big sector in a diverse part of London. They need an entrepreneurial CVS and that's what Jake leads.

And I managed to get to Hackney despite the tube strike. It's been amusing to read all the scare stories in the London Evening Standard ("crush hour" for example). I have had no problems travelling around, but then I realise that London has a brilliant overground train service, and you can actually walk between tube stations. Indeed it's been good for my health as I have been walking through the gorgeous Brockwell Park to take the train from Herne Hill to St Pancras. So less whingeing and more walking!

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