50th Anniversary Afternoon Tea 19th June 2016


“From Council for Social Service to Community Development Action”


Welcome to the Lord Lieutenant, the High Sheriff, Mayors, HCC Chairman, ladies and gentlemen and our special Vice Presidents…..indeed an honour to stand here with you all to help us celebrate our 50th anniversary!


1966 was indeed a very special year for several momentous occasions for all of us

  • Longleat Safari Park, first such drive-through park outside Africa.
  • BBC1 television sitcom Till Death Us Do Part begins its first series run.
  • A ban on black workers at Euston railway station is overturned
  • Rootes Group launches the Hillman Hunter, a four-door family saloon to compete with the Austin 1800, Ford Cortina and Vauxhall Victor
  • The BBC television drama Cathy Come Home, filmed in a docudrama style, is broadcast on BBC1.
  • London School of Contemporary Dance founded
  • BBC starts to broadcast in colour
  • Henry Cooper Floors Mohammed Ali
  • England win the World Cup
  • First British Credit Card Launched
  • George Blake Escapes from Wormwood Scrubs
  • Last UK Concert by Beatles
  • Severn Bridge Opens
  • The Aberfan Disaster
  • Gallon of petrol cost 5 shillings old money = 10p
  • Small 2 bedroom semi-detached freehold bungalow could be purchased in the East Midlands for about £3,250. A typical borrower could take out a mortgage of £2,900 (90% loan to value), requiring a deposit of £350 and a repayment of under £30 per month over 25 years to repay the debt.


…and the Community Council for Hertfordshire was born after considerable preparation and consultation to serve both urban and rural communities.  The concept of working in partnership with local districts and boroughs relating to social and economic wellbeing of people and environment remains true today.


Audrey Deacon founder and first Director, 21st Year Report 1987:


“It is interesting to see the development of the work down the years … emergence of a pattern in the introduction of … a small pilot scheme to test the worth of an idea and then its adoption, ending in floating off the new group or activity once firmly established. The same process has illustrated the beneficial results – in terms both of efficiency and economy – of co-operation between statutory and voluntary agencies, made possible by an enabling body.”


We kick started pilots and then they floated off to be well established in their own right…eg St Albans CVS, Herts Young Homeless, Herts Association of Parish Councils (then HALC, now HAPTC), Herts Playing Fields Ass, Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG).


I am pleased to say that we have not changed from this ethos and principles…


In 1987 in the 21st Report it details the areas of work and interest:

  • Village Halls Advisory Service;
  • Council for Small Industries in Rural areas;
  • Local Councils of Social Service;
  • Local Councils for Voluntary Service;
  • Seminar of Voluntary Organisations;
  • Standing Conference on the countryside;
  • Landscape Action In Hertfordshire;
  • Countryside initiatives;
  • Community work in villages;
  • Transport licensing;
  • Rural Transport Panel;
  • VINE – Village Information Network with CDA and Libraries in East Herts;
  • Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG);
  • Training for Community and welfare work;
  • Task Force for young people to become engaged in voluntary service;
  • CVS;
  • Standing Conference on welfare organisations;
  • Unemployment training;
  • Gypsies and Travellers;
  • Information & Education sub-Committee;
  • Community Associations;
  • Planning;
  • Review of Charities Act of 1960 providing powers for Trustees;


Different agencies were under under the Council of Social Service umbrella –

  • Herts Association of Local Councils (now HAPTC)
  • Herts Ecumenical Executive
  • Herts Standing conference on Drug Dependence
  • Hertfordshire Playing Fields Association
  • Herts Local History Council
  • Hertfordshire Ecumenical Executive
  • Review of Charities
  • Electricity Accounts


Name changes:

  • 1966 – 1974 Hertfordshire Council of Social Service
  • 1974 – 1985 Hertfordshire Council for Voluntary Service
  • 1985 – 1997 Community Council for Herts
  • 1997 – 2013 Community Development Agency for Herts
  • 2013 – 20?? Community Development Action Herts .


The next 19 years saw a plethora of services delivered in partnership with public agencies and the voluntary sector:


  • HARVEST – EU funded voluntary sector countywide training;
  • HMP The Mount Visits Hall Play Area (still operating);
  • Herts Young Homeless;
  • Herts Health Action for the Homeless;
  • Herts Rural Transport Partnership;
  • IAG Partnership – Information, Advice & Guidance;
  • Rural Social Inclusion – addressing isolation, poor services, exclusion;
  • Herts, Minds & Money – funding advice;
  • Create – changing faces of BME youth in Herts;
  • Hertshapes – sexual health awareness and information;
  • Youth Volunteering;
  • Computing in the Community;
  • Parish Plans & Appraisals;
  • Village Halls Advisory Service;
  • Rural Affordable Housing;
  • Rural Enterprise Project – support and training for farmers/rural businesses;
  • Community Care Development;
  • Herts BME Alliance;
  • ESF Capacity Building & Training – targeting BME groups;
  • Patient & Public Involvement in Health Forum Support (Herts, Beds, Luton & West Essex);
  • Gypsy Roma Traveller Playbus


The Last 10 years;

  • Wheels to Work through transport project SCOOTS – we have helped over 250 clients get to work or education. We ran two different schemes – a hire scheme for young people and then opened it up to everyone in Herts.  Sadly we have closed the project but some case study examples such as young dads finding the scheme tremendous use as they had to get to shift work either early mornings or late nights and public transport didn’t help.
  • Rural affordable housing – three solid partnerships, here in East Herts, North Herts and Dacorum. Our role is to keep affordable on the agenda and our offer is to carry out independent housing need surveys.  Really good to see the bricks and mortar in Essendon after the completion of the housing needs survey way back in 2007/8; a brilliant development.
  • Our Community Garden – a gift of land from Oaklands College has provided us with a wonderful platform to work with diverse communities in St Albans and wonderful co-production is a reality. It was a slow burner to get communities involved but gosh it was worth waiting for!  A Toddlers group called Little Eden have a large plot, Herts Asian Women Association have started to work on their plot in memory of a pioneering Sister.  Mind in Mid Herts has started on its plot, St Albans Disability Team has a dedicated plot and will start soon with their clients, Beekeepers have a set of 3 hives, 40 indigenous fruit trees were planted with students from Oaklands College, Heartbeat has planted a tree and benching for people recovering from strokes. The biggest activity currently in progress involves Groundwork and its partner Tarmac in delivering training for 16-25 year olds in construction skills, so we are going to have on show a sensory plant area, raised beds, benches, a pond, a large shelter, pathways, pergola and fire pit! We have had working parties from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, St Albans Interfaith Group, Tesco and Nationwide and we will be hosting another party in the Garden on 23rd July as part of our 50th
  • Gypsy Roma Traveller Playbus – supporting pre-school age children and their families with two hours of structured play and learning and had a considerable impact on their lives, improving educationa and integration. Despite extensive positive feedback from parents and stakeholders and a supportive Advisory Group sadly funding dried up and we said goodbye to the bus in 2010. The Bus has gone to a good home in Doncaster which is now used by the NHS to deliver services Travellers.
  • Learning champions – Supporting charities working in health and social care sector providing business advice and guidance which is very satisfying work.
  • Setting up networks – Community Energy, Social Enterprises, Village Halls and Community Groups all benefit from lots and lots of supportive work and sign-posting with help from our national body ACRE and local authority contacts.
  • Two projects and with thanks to the Community and Wellbeing team – Helping hands with priorities for Rural, BME and Travellers (with dementia) communities. A real taboo subject within the Traveller community.  I have a sessional worker who is English Gypsy and has been working so hard to engage and support family and carers. We have also been trying to keep older people safe and well in their homes and avoiding slips, trips and falls the highest cause of accidents.
  • Innovation Grants – on my travels and working with small groups, and not so small,

I hear that if they had small sums it would help them to deliver their services in the health and social care sector.  Well we got £20k and have dispersed grants to 31 organisations. Smallest asked for £90 for craft materials for 60+ groups to the largest was £1500 for family support group work. This has been most rewarding to enable groups to go that extra mile to deliver good quality services.


Our grant from Defra via ACRE helps us to work in shared areas of need supporting and advising about Broadband, Transport, Affordable Housing and Fuel Poverty and Community Energy schemes.  Our partnership with UH and Herts Sustainability Forum on sustainable community energy and trying to work with Schools and Halls spreading the word and looking into energy bills and helping to reduce usage, reduce carbon saving money and the planet! Great to get primary children involved in all of this, important learning.


We have said good-bye to a few projects in the past but I am very pleased and happy to host – we offer office space/post box/meeting room/office admin support/funding sources for Herts Equality Council, GATE, Herts Orchard Initiative and Kaleidoscope to mention them in despatches with long and wonderful connections.


Last but not least partnership working. Last year there was huge opportunity from Big Lottery and LEP to deliver training/support to young people and adults and we approached and were approached to form a consortium called Changing Herts.  I am proud that 30 partners are part of the consortium and although we were unsuccessful with the tender we have committed to remain as a partnership and ready to rock and roll when another opportunity comes. So my thanks to members and partners, some of whom are here, for working brilliantly together and with such collaboration and co-operation – it was a pleasure to be the lead body for them.


Well I have run out of time; its not easy reflecting on 50 years. A past Director, Jennifer Hughes, is sorry that she is unable to join us due to grandmother duties in Wales.

I pay homage to our first Director Audrey Deacon, who set up the charity and set the standards and protocols that our Vice President June Street remembers and enlightened me with this presentation.  I will end with a quote from June – “CDA Herts delivers services that others won’t touch!”  Whatever does she mean?


Thank you for coming and sharing our special time today – we are truly grateful for the support.


Kate Belinis

Chief Executive








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