CommUNITY Barnet (CB) has been successfully promoting and empowering local communities in Barnet since 1979. Initially, CB was a Council for Voluntary Services, providing an umbrella under which diverse and disconnected communities could come together as a sector to create a single identity. This provided key public service providers the ability to liaise directly with the sector to design appropriate services.
We are a membership driven organisation, with over 900 voluntary, community, charitable organisations and social enterprises registered on our contact database. Through our various departments – Community Organisational Development, Children and Young People, Volunteer Centre, Healthwatch Barnet, Healthwatch Brent Healthwatch Newham and Barnet Boroughwatch we have access to over 80,000 residents throughout the borough. At CommUNITY Barnet we are committed to increasing community activity by building capacity and strong partnerships, which promote independence, learning and wellbeing, which in turn increases residents’ independence and resilience.
As the borough’s population has increased and diversified we have enhanced our leadership role and have responded appropriately. Over the years we have seen new communities settle and expand and the need for our services has grown considerably. These new communities needed expert advice, quality assurance and opportunities to experiment and influence changing models of public service delivery. CB became a local infrastructure organisation (LIO).
Focussing on the needs of our members and our strategic ambitions, CB has delivered a range of services for our members and the wider voluntary and community sector. Our work with our members and partners continues to go from strength-to-strength whilst our growing London presence has enabled us to deliver services to benefit the residents of Barnet, Brent and Newham. This has increased our regional presence but more importantly, has relied on local reach through members and the formation of collaborative partnerships which draw upon the grassroots experiences of charities, volunteers and volunteering organisations.
Through the collective work of staff and members, CB has been invited to strategic tables at borough, London-wide and national level to present our key messages and share our knowledge as a growing, thriving and experienced infrastructure organisation that is committed to supporting and promoting civic activity, nurturing collaborative partnerships, growing and enhancing volunteering and increasing community fundraising. Always keen to share and support, CB is increasingly well respected and sought after by national organisations and statutory commissioners resulting in an increasing diversification of our membership.
None of this success would have been possible with our extraordinarily talented and conscientious staff and volunteers, the active participation of our members in developing our services and the guidance of our inspirational and ambitious board of Trustees. Through their combined efforts CommUNITY Barnet has been able to confidently support community, voluntary and social enterprises and deliver the right activities for its members and partners.