Judi Joins the Barnet...

Photo of Judi Dumont-Barter. Black female aged between 35-45, flat with long hair wearing a skull cap headscarf, silver pendant earrings and grey t-shirt.

Inclusion Barnet, through Barnet Together, provides infrastructure support, information, training and representation to and for Barnet’s voluntary, community and faith organisations, primarily to those working in the Adults sector, and this last is an area IB are looking to grow in the coming months and my new role as VCFS Representation Lead will play a key part in providing this representation.

My name is Judi Dumont-Barter, I chose to get engaged with Barnet forum meetings prior to starting my role with Inclusion Barnet (Barnet Together) on 3 May, so that I reacquainted myself with Barnet and the VCFS and statutory organisations. On 8 April I started by attending the Health & Well-being board and was struck by the obvious domination of the Covid-19 agenda, and also how partnership between agencies had become a significant feature that had been developed throughout 2020 and the commitment to continue and grow those relationships.

I worked with Barnet VCS in 2013-14 and can say with gratitude that I notice a marked difference in the narrative about the importance of involving, engaging and partnering with VCFS. I add the F because I believe the quality of community connections that our faith communities bring is truly being recognised.

Over the past few weeks I have attended over 20 different Barnet forums, from food security to adult safeguarding and suicide prevention, interspersed with meeting our VCFS CEO Network and exploring the role that social prescribing and health screening will play in delivering quality services to customers with lived experience and where relevant, their carers.

While Caroline Collier (CEO) and I consider what priority areas of work the role should focus on as deliverables, a number have naturally come to the surface, as follows:

  1. Creating and delivering a State of the Sector survey to gather data about not only where we are post Covid-19 but also how Inclusion Barnet services meet their needs and enables them to show the impact of what they do, thus promoting the sector which can generate more funding.
  2. Bringing to bear my many years of diversity work (as a trustee with the Race Equality Foundation for over a decade) to the EDI Strategy being led by the Royal Free and bringing forward learning from the sector.
  3. Additionally, adding my skills to the safeguarding agenda, with some focus on BAME communities. This is an area the VCFS have needed support with and our Deputy, Rebecca Sare is leading the way with support and expertise.
  4. Supporting both the CEO Network and the Adult Social Care Liaison Group that is administrated by IB.
  5. Exploring the accreditation process for infrastructure organisations through NAVCA. This has the quality of an Ofsted inspection (having experienced two at both primary and secondary) and will involve staff at all levels, board members and case studies of VCFS organisations we have supported in the previous year.

In just six weeks, I am impressed and very optimistic about the way Barnet VCFS are working with both the council and health. Conversations are already taking place about the mitigations needed to manage the impact of Covid-19, especially on our most vulnerable. There is a deep recognition that resources are finite but there are some real opportunities available to us and through strengthening and growing our partnerships we can keep an eye on early intervention, prevention and services that assist communities to flourish, while ensuring that we cast a wide enough net to catch communities that have unmet needs but often don’t shout loud enough but need our joined up help.

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