For those readers not familiar with the Reading Advice Forum it might be helpful to explain what it is all about. The Reading Advice Forum has been set up by the Reading Advice Network (RAN) Project to provide networking and training opportunities to voluntary and community sector organisations that offer advice, advocacy and information services to people in Reading. The RAN Project recognised that it would be advantageous to involve a range of organisations and the following was agreed:
- That the Forum is a membership organisation with interested parties completing a Membership application (now available on the RAN Website).
- That the Advice Forum would meet on a quarterly basis and would be a working and networking group providing the following:
- opportunities for training
- discussion on key issues,
- prominent and appropriate speakers,
- inform on the workings and outcomes of the RAN Project,
- identify where relevant, issues to be tabled at the RAN Partnership Board Meetings
From the first Forum in March 2014, a number of invited speakers have covered a wide range of subjects followed by discussions or workshops. By the time of organising the seventh Forum meeting Reading Borough Council had made an announcement about the voluntary sector funding from 2016 and changes in the way that available funding would be accessed (including commissioning). This was likely to present real challenges to local organisations many of whom have limited resources to respond to new ways of working.
The Forum on July 30th 2015 set the stage to share with the wider voluntary community the future network proposals and the opportunities to which they would have access and to hear the thoughts of the Council on the importance of collaborative working and quality standards in the voluntary sector. There was a clear indication that working together in partnership would be a significant step towards being able to respond more effectively to the immediate and future challenges. The footage presented here comprises the excerpts from the key speakers who spoke on the day about these significant issues and who were as follows:
- Jo Lovelock – Leader of Reading Borough Council
- David Harper – CEO of Reading CAB (Lead Body)
- George Mathew – RAN Project Manager
- Janette Searle – Preventative Services Development Manager -Adult Social Care, RBC
- Andrew Robarts – Advice Worker-Reading Voluntary Action
Finally if you are interested in becoming a Forum member – please fill in the Membership Application Form in the Advice Forum Section of the website.