Visiting Cannock safeguarding teams and Staffordshire’s volunteers

Last Friday I went out to meet Colleen Male and her three safeguarding teams in Cannock.  Keeping children safe is one of our responsibilities that I take particularly seriously and I wanted to talk to some of the front line staff and managers to make sure that they had what they need to do the difficult and demanding job asked of them.  I found my visit hugely reassuring.  These teams face significant work pressures due to increasing caseloads, and the work they do requires real resilience.  Everyone I met was totally focussed, the teams were well organised, and the front line social workers were positive, committed, and supportive of each other.  At the end of my visit I left having real confidence in the teams’ ability to continue to do a great job for the county, and I also felt again a real sense of pride in the people that work for us and do so much for our communities.

As well as all those who work for us, the county is blessed by having large numbers of community and voluntary organisations who do a tremendous job in making Staffordshire a better place.  I have recently been out to meet the Burton Albion Community Trust who do great work in East Staffordshire in helping a range of individuals improve their life skills.  Because of their link with the football club they are able to draw in individuals who wouldn’t otherwise engage with ourselves or other organisations, which is a good example of why it can be better to commission others that to always try to do things ourselves.  Similarly, I am a trustee of the charity responsible for the Police Cadets that are being rolled out across the county.  At a recent Trustees’ meting it was brilliant to hear that in only a short time, very large numbers (in excess of a thousand) children and young people have been engaged by this work, attracted by the link with the Police.  Where we come in is to help make life easier for these organisations, and one of the common challenges faced by such organisations is attracting volunteers to support their work.  We can help with this, and we have already done some good work on this, but I am keen to explore what more we can do to get even better at attracting, recruiting and retaining volunteers as they will play an essential part in achieving the outcomes we want for Staffordshire.

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