CCB chose to focus its 2017 AGM on the provision of activities for older people in rural communities in Berkshire.
Held in the historic building of Shaw House, Newbury, on the evening of Thursday 19th October Tim Parry, Chief Officer gave highlights of the work the organisation has delivered over the last year which included helping vulnerable households in Berkshire save money on their energy bills. Tim highlighted the fact that CCB’s Energy Advice Project had helped 400 families receive direct support and that 91 frontline workers had received training in how to reduce energy bills so that they could pass this on to a further 350 families across the county.
Guests at the AGM included CCB members, many representing parish councils and village halls from across the county and a number of Mayors and Deputy Mayors, some travelling from the eastern edge of the county. After the formal business was concluded, Tim introduced CCB’s new President, The Right Honourable Richard Benyon MP for Newbury.
Richard spoke passionately about loneliness and social isolation, recognising that it exists everywhere but is exacerbated by rurality. In particular he highlighted the extraordinary work that many charitable organisations do to tackle this and the great work CCB does to act as enabler, linking identified needs to those individuals and groups that can help. Richard highlighted how CCB’s Community Planning project made many parishes more vibrant and helped to bring individuals in the community together. He also mentioned the continuing fantastic work that CCB does to ensure that village halls and community buildings remain lively, viable and busy village hubs.
The event concluded with informal discussions on what good examples of community-led provision exist and areas where activity could be improved. Many attendees completed a short questionnaire, representing the start of some research into how gaps in provision can be addressed. Tim said “There was a real buzz in the room at the end of the AGM and everyone present contributed to increasing our understanding of this important issue. I hope to work with many people over the coming months to ensure that we can celebrate the best of what is already going on while putting our efforts into ensuring that everyone, regardless of where they live, can find rewarding activities and make new friends”.