On 13 April LVSC hosted the first of two hustings on the London Mayoral campaign. The (free) venue was at London Metropolitan University, and a timely example of the value of partnership working. The parties were represented by Baroness Liz Barker (Liberal Democrat Party), Caroline Russell (Green Party), Sam Malik (Conservative Party) and Fiona Twycross (Labour Party), with Francis Sealey from Globalnet 21 as chair


Over the ensuing two hours, the audience, consisting of a wide range of voluntary and community sector practitioners, posed a range of questions, citing powerful testimony from a range of voluntary sector settings, including food banks and homeless shelter provision.  One of the key demands which emerged from the floor, was for a more dedicated approach from the Greater London Authority (GLA) and Mayor's office to work with the sector, with both a sense of disappointment expressed, with past arrangements, and real hope, based on unanimous agreement from the speakers, that the sector was a vital part of a future Mayor's programme.

It was widely recognised that the voluntary and community sector was the key to dealing effectively with a range of social issues.  The role of digital technology and demonstrating impact was highlighted, as were wider issues around housing, racism and providing greater opportunities for young people.

Each speaker pledged their commitment to working with the sector in summing up.

Fiona Twycross representing Labour and our recently elected Mayor,

"We will take a city-wide approach to the VCSE sector, while looking at specific areas and groups. There has not been action taken on food poverty. This is an issue that we are committed to tackling as a priority.

"We have a food strategy, looking at London as a city for which hunger and malnutrition is an issue, for both young and old. Tackling poverty and destitution long-term has to be about getting people into work.

"Making London a living wage city is key, this will mean working in partnership with the VCSE sector.

And the sector must have someone in City Hall to go to."