Dorset Community Action praised for response to pandemic

dorset community actionBy Local Democracy Reporter Trevor Bevins

DORSET Community Action has been praised for its work in the county during the coronavirus pandemic.

The group’s annual meeting heard that the local response to the pandemic had demonstrated the strength of community and illustrated the value of the Dorset third sector and volunteers.

Members were also told how staff had adapted quickly to continue delivering services and had developed new ways of working and presenting training sessions.

The meeting heard that, having lost about £50,000 of funding during the year, Dorset Community Action (DCA) ended the period with a £7,300 deficit, which would be addressed by moving funds from reserves.

Lord Lieutenant and patron of DCA, Angus Campbell, said that if nothing else the pandemic had made many people realises how important voluntary organisations and volunteers were and had won them wide recognition.

“DCA has done a huge amount of work to keep the county going,” he told the online meeting, thanking staff and volunteers and member organisations for their work.

Association chairman Simon Wraw said that despite the pandemic the organisation had helped local groups claim more than £2million in funding, had trained almost 200 people and had organised and run 16 network events attended by more than 500 people.

It had also put on 26 webinars, attended by 1,500 while more than 2,500 people had received an emailed newsletter during the year.

Chief executive Alex Picot added his praise for the organisation’s response to Covid and said the challenge now was to take the best of what it had learned from the experience and move forward with those lessons in mind into the recovery period.

He said he hoped to develop the organisation’s membership in the year ahead and ensure it remained relevant and mindful of the needs of its members in changing times.

Tributes were paid during the meeting to retiring trustees, including Pauline Batstone, Dorset Council’s first chairman, who had been involved with the organisation since 1983 and is thought to have been one of the longest serving trustees.

There was also praise for former chairman Alan Clevett who had served six years in the post.

He thanked the organisation for its positive, adaptable and enthusiastic approach to whatever was thrown at it.

“It has been fast moving and adaptable with hard work and a never give up attitude…I’m very excited about the future of DCA. It’s in great shape to move forward,” he said.

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