Volunteers needed for community groups federationBy Julie Spencer
January 22, 2013
An organisation described as ‘group therapy’ for people running community organisations in Bracknell needs new volunteers.
Ed Glasson, chairman, and David Little, minutes secretary, will stand down from their roles with the Bracknell Forest Federation of Community Groups at its annual general meeting tomorrow (Wednesday).
The Fed, as it is known, was started in 2002 so members of community groups in Bracknell could share advice and information.
Meetings were formalised in 2005 and in 2006, the Fed became a registered charity to link community groups in Bracknell and liaise with councils, the NHS and the emergency services.
Ed said the Fed was vital in supporting volunteers.
"Because councils have been told to cut their budgets over the past 10 years the burden on volunteers has increased.
"Each community association would organise its own public liability insurance and in the Fed we can meet up and swap notes and find out which is the best value insurer which is a saving for hard-pressed community centres.
"A good example of what we do is when the local authorities wanted to use all the centres for elections for a peppercorn rent.
"Centres are already struggling and they would have lost hundreds of pounds revenue.
"We were able to talk with the local authority and agree on a compromise where they paid the lowest hire charge so people could vote where they have always voted but the centres would not lose out.”
He added: "There are times when you wake up at 3am in a nervous breakdown because it is so worrying.
"But you know you have only to pick up the phone and it is like group therapy.
"There is always someone in the Fed who has faced that problem and it is needed more than ever now."
The Fed is independent, run by volunteers and funded by donations. It has more than 200 people, representing 50 groups, on its mailing list.
Meetings have covered issues including the health service, affordable housing, town centre regeneration, crime and disorder, climate change and over-development.
The annual meeting takes place on Wednesday, January 23 at Easthampstead Baptist Church in South Hill Road at 7.30pm.