The following has been published in the Argus today as the daily opinion piece. SPARK are a charity I have worked with since before they changed their name, and in recent years the company I work for has been proud to support the charity and the groups it supports through the annual SPARK Awards:
The old adage about repairing the roof when the sun is shining is often applied by politicians when they arrive in office and discover that they are facing cuts to their budget and also shortfalls in the service they have promised to provide. It was used extensively by the coalition Government blaming their predecessors for failing to repair the nations roof. This simplistic concept is much easier to use rhetorically, than in practice. However when the infrastructure which delivers value to communities begins to fall apart or is being dismantled, the strength of the communities concerned is tested and to use government speak, the resilience of the community concerned is threatened. One example of this dismantling became public at the beginning of this week when an organisation called SPARK announced that it was closing its doors as a result of funding having been cut back in September. SPARK is an organisation that supplies valuable infrastructure support to youth charities and organisations throughout East Sussex. It used to be called the East Sussex Council for Voluntary Youth Services (ESCVYS). However it changed its name a few years ago. The reality is that in the short term the loss of SPARK will not be noticed by most people, however over time groups that relied on SPARK for training will have to find other organisations to deliver it. They may struggle to find training tailored to their work with young people but trainers will still exist. The same is true for funding support. Organisations like SPARK represent a roof that was fixed on a Sunny Day and is now sadly being dismantled.