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Alison Seabrooke

I work on projects in a range of policy areas:

  • continuing to provide strategic and practical advice to a UK public body, on a community consent-based approach to a nationally significant infrastructure project. As far as I am aware this is the first time this approach has been taken in the UK
  • reviewing grant-making processes for a well-known UK charity (February 2017)
  • reviewed activity and produced a report advising on community-based, non-clinical approaches to health and social care  as part of one NHS region’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan submission to NHS England (July – November 2016)

You can read more about these pieces of work in my blog posts.

Between 2005 – 2016 I was chief executive of the Community Development Foundation (CDF). Originally established in 1967 as a non-departmental public body (NDPB) and charity, its role covered all four nations, working across policy, practice, research, evaluation, programme management. Over the period I led CDF’s work building its business portfolio and partnerships, managing £ms in contracts and grants across multiple policy areas and for all sectors, achieving operational efficiencies and a highly collaborative and productive staff team.

By 2011, on cessation as a public body, I had laid the foundations to swiftly shift CDF to its independent social enterprise status, whilst simultaneously bidding for and securing Big Lottery Fund’s largest endowment of £200m, to deliver a 10-year resident-led programme in 150 neighbourhoods – Big Local. CDF set up the independent delivery organisation, Local Trust, in 2012.

From 2012 – 2016, Trustees also agreed a strategy to invest CDF’s own resources in communities, in response to the severe effects of the financial crisis. Towards the end of this period, Trustees considered options for future investment and best ways to support community development into the future. In December 2015 it was agreed to pass £850k in cash, plus intellectual property rights to Local Trust and three other national organisations. CDF ceased to trade in March 2016, a decision that commanded respect as one that could be adopted by other charities.

The articles below provide an insight into some of my interests and experience.

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My most recent posts…

A legacy for community development

The decision to close CDF was taken in the context of the evolution of community development and of CDF – from 1967 as a non-departmental public body and charity with offices in the nations, to an independent social enterprise in 2011, delivering a number of products and services primarily in England. Devolution of power and money – first to nations and now cities and localities – has influenced the way in which we operate and shaped the way community development is applied and resourced. This blog provides detail on the final outcome of where nearly £850k of cash plus intellectual property assets have been transferred.

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That’s all folks … or is it?

A month ago I published my post about CDF’s decision to close. This note is a follow-up to that news. Today we sent our last monthly external newsletter, detailing where CDF’s assets will go (funds, products, services, archives) to our 13,000 friends, colleagues and clients.

read more

Congratulations on your closure!

Brave’, ‘strategic’, ‘congratulations’, ‘thanks for the CDF legacy’ – not phrases you would expect when an organisation takes a decision to close. But these are the overwhelming sentiments I have received since announcing late December 2015 that CDF will soon cease to exist, after nearly 50 years. With charities hitting the headlines at the tail-end of the wave of recalibration of big business (in which I include the public sector), CDF has, as usual, done things differently.

read more

BUILD Bilbao; what’s in a word?

The second BUILD international conference opened up insights into different nations’ priorities for urban transformation and what this might mean for local communities. This is the winning entry in the blog competition.

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Smoke and Mirrors

Over the past few weeks the charity sector has been drawn into the debate about government proposals to limit potential charity ‘lobbying’ by inserting clauses into grant offer letters. NCVO has recently written a letter to the Prime Minister countersigned by charity CEOs, and is actively briefing peers, politicians and government officials about the proposed move. Here the sector is challenged to think more broadly and keep its eye on the bigger picture.

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Update on CDF’s closure announcement

The passion we continue to share at CDF is the need to advocate for those working at the grassroots – the local activists, community groups and volunteers and those who support them from all sectors – and how they rise to local challenges and create opportunities for their communities, regardless of the odds. Empowering people to influence and act upon the decisions that affect their lives has been central to our work, The overriding commitment is to make sure that the recipient of CDF’s resources is able to keep the flame alight.

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How community projects are taking on the debt crisis

Stories of the devastating impact of debt on individuals and communities are never far from the headlines. The Government’s u-turn decision to cap payday loans this week has been welcomed by many charities and campaigning organisations, not least by our very own Community Investment Coalition (CIC). Here are examples of where community organisations, including housing associations, are tackling debt in their own areas.

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Keeping the ‘social’ in the housing sector; the new responses

Over the year, we’ve enjoyed a growing understanding and relationship with a number of housing associations up and down the country. But just as we were getting to know a bit more about each other July ‘happened’. The government’s announcement of the Right to Buy, cuts to government funds, layered on changes arising from the ‘bedroom tax’ and universal credits, has sent the sector into a bit of a spin.

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Guardian Society Profile April 2016

This isn’t the end for local activism
The head of the axed Community Development Foundation on how local organisations already hit by cuts will have to pick up the slack.

www.theguardian.com/...

BUILD Bilbao October 2016

Bilbao Urban Innovation and Leadership Dialogues
From September 16-19, 2015, BUILD convened over 100 civic leaders and urban practitioners from GMF’s network in the U.S. and Europe to discuss strategies for leading transformative change in cities for BUILD's second annual convening.

www.gmfus.org/forum/bilbao...

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