Voluntary and community groups event


On 11 July Richard hosted a Big Lottery Lunch for local community and voluntary groups

Richard is pressing for a vibrant and sustainable voluntary and community sector here in Northfield. On 11 July he hosted a lunch and networking event for local volunteers and community groups at the Elim Pentecostal Church in Weoley.

The event – co-hosted by the Big Lottery and Birmingham Voluntary Services Council – provided an opportunity for local groups to find out how to apply for funding and what other forms of support are available.

Other funders such as Children in Need and the Heritage Lottery Foundation were also on hand to talk to groups. South West Birmingham Community Association were there to sign people up to their network and the Development Trust Agency talked about the opportunities a Community Development Trust could bring to the area.

Speaking after the event, Richard said:

‘I hope that today’s event will have had a practical impact and enable groups to find new funding streams. We have been able to share ideas about how we can ensure that the voluntary sector in Northfield is better supported so that groups’ existence is more resilient in the future. It also gave the chance to say thank you to all those people who put so much of their own time into making Northfield a better place for everyone.’

John Taylor, Head of the Big Lottery Fund, said:

‘We are committed to ensuring all parts of Birmingham benefit from Lottery funding and that this improves the lives of local communities. By working together with the local MP, we are able to maximise our impact and ensure we make a real difference by investing Lottery money in Northfield where it is most needed.’

Earlier this week the Communities Secretary, Hazel Blears, launched the Community Empowerment White Paper in the House of Commons. This White Paper focuses on passing power to communities and giving real control and influence to local people.

The White Paper puts forward a number of suggestions including:

  • the intention to launch a £70 million Communitybuilders scheme to support community organisations;
  • removing some of the barriers for faith-based organisations to supply goods and services to local authorities;
  • the transfer of more assets such as community centres, street markets and parks to local community ownership;
  • encouraging more local co-ops and mutually-owned groups to run local services; and,
  • encouraging more Community Land Trusts (CLTs), which can help create stable funding for community groups.

These initiatives could make a real difference to communities here in Northfield.

The White Paper is available online and Richard is keen to hear what local community groups and constituents think about the suggestions it makes and the ideas behind it. Please get in touch.


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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

Get in touch

You can reach me by email at richard@richardburden.com or use the form on the Contact page to send me a message.