Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A month in the life of Cruella - Hugging Hoodies, Embarrassing Interviews et al

Because of having had such a turbulent few weeks with little access to my blog I seem to have a whole basketful of unfinished tomes.............anyway - here is a summary.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days at the LGA conference. Highlight for me had to be Simon Hughes' speech. Not only because I am a confessed Simonphile, but particularly because his ten point programme for local government had top of the list investment in Youth Service and in particular in detached youth work. As someone who has spent most of my working life in youth work it was as you can imagine music to my ears. I listened carefully to the speeches by Mr Cameron and Ms Blears, just to see if they would back up their own rhetoric, but sadly not much mention of services for young people, although Cameron talked a lot about special needs education.

And then it was off to the Youth Summit, the swan song for my old pal, retiring CEO of the National Youth Agency, Tom Wylie. Tom is famous for his quip about hoodies "I Blame the Franciscans". A couple of years ago I got a hoodie made for him - you can't see it in this pic, but I had it printed with a little Franciscan on the front and a big one on the back with the text "I Blame the Franciscans" I dared him to wear it when the minister (Beverley Hughes) was speaking, on that occasion he didn't, but at the Youth Summit I am glad to say he did, and got quite a laugh. A couple of weeks ago was his retirement do, he received many well deserved accolades, including from Phil Hope MP (who used to work for the NYA), Tom has been a fearless critic of government youth policy and will be sorely missed, although I am proud to say he will now be chairing our advisory group at the FSA.

In the last month we also had a visit from Jafar Farah from Elijah Trust partner organisation Mossawa. He was over for a meeting with the LGA about town twinning with Arab towns, so we were able to arrange meetings in Bedford and in Westminster for him, it was the last week of term so difficult for many parliamentarians to attend, but pleased to say that Dan Rogerson made it.

As a granny it was a delight to celebrate my little grandaughter Sumaiyah's birthday - she is the image of her mum with a fantastic personality, you wait we'll get her on the podium at conference to speak about toddler's rights before she is 2!

Oh and that embarrassing interview..............that was with a couple of children at the Youth Summit, it's on the web somewhere...........a babycham in the conference hotel bar for anyone who can find it!

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