\u201cAchieving the Extraordinary\u201d was the theme of the Blackpool SURF 2007 AGM. That theme fits well with many of our 80 member groups who regularly conduct marvellous work that enhances the quality of life of people in Blackpool.
The theme is also applicable to Blackpool SURF itself. The organisation has achieved extraordinary things \u2013 but against the odds in a climate of instability and where funding has only been available on an insecure annual basis. Yet despite difficulties and the loss of key members of staff who sought alternative employment because of the lack of job security, SURF has continually made progress.
This progress and the potential of SURF to develop, represents a rich vein of experience and enthusiasm that needs to be continually utilised. Blackpool SURF\u2019s member groups and partners need to be urgently reviewing this untapped resource and ensuring that investment takes place to release that potential.
In September 2007 Blackpool SURF recruited its 80th member. SURF is not an organisation that needs to be dealt with as a single entity; rather it is a network of a wide variety of voluntary and community organisations that focus on Blackpool.
SURF membership is \u2018authentic\u2019 and the staff and Board Members of the organisation have real knowledge of each group and its activities and personnel.
Note: These \u2018area of work\u2019 categories have been determined by SURF. It is not always easy to categorise groups. For example does TramShed Inclusive Theatre Company which helps children with identified additional needs integrate into mainstream theatre sit under the Children & Young People category, or as a youth organisation or under Health and Disability? Because of the nature of that group we have categorised them as a Youth Organisation. Blackpool Advocacy clearly works with young people, but has been categorised as Support and Advice Service for the purposes of this exercise.
The above categories \u2013 and any new ones necessary \u2013 will be included on a future membership survey and on all new SURF membership application forms so that members can define their own areas of work.
Each SURF member is a Blackpool focussed group carrying out specific
activities that benefit the town and its residents. SURF\u2019s range of Members
include well known national charities like Barnardo\u2019s and the Citizen\u2019s Advice
Bureau, well knownlocal charities like Blackpool Advocacy but also includes
small local organisations involving just a handful of dedicated volunteers e.g.
OCEANS who are a self-help group for sufferers of Obsessive Compulsive
Each member has a nominated representative and has rights to attend the bi-
monthly SURF Network Meeting. 35% of our members regularly attended the
SURF Network Meeting in 2007 i.e. have attended more than one Network
SURF full-membership is open to any constituted group that operates in
Blackpool. Associate Membership i.e. non-voting membership is available to
emerging groups or groups that do not have a local base or local Blackpool
Based on a collaborative approach with the CVS and Blackpool Council
(Neighbourhoods and Communities Division, Faith and Equalities, Parks
Department) and adopting a pro-active system to mutually refer groups to
each other, then all groups in the town will benefit.
A simple protocol will be proposed, which upon agreement, will enable
and encourage partner agencies to mutually refer VCFS groups to the
most appropriate services and relevant activities. This will help
integrate communication and information-flow to and from groups.
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