TO get a better idea of issues facing local community groups, MP Francis Maude visited Barry following a request from Alun Cairns.

Mr Maude is the UK government minister responsible for charity laws and Alun Cairns MP was keen for him to visit some community groups in the area and Mr Cairns also wanted to highlight the Vale Centre for Voluntary Service’s recent award for their work in good governance.

Mr Cairns said: "We had an excellent turn out of local charities and it was clear that Francis Maude was impressed with the issues they raised. He told them that he recognised most people get involved with charities to make a difference, not to complete policies and paperwork.

“I was pleased that he understood the difficulties charities can come up against and the point made by one group or ‘over-professionalising’ them.

“The strongest message from those present was that when authorities transfer services to local charitable groups, the charities or VCVS themselves need to be involved at the planning stage. Simply being asked to tender is the best way to make best use of charities."

Mr Maude said: “I was really impressed with the strength of the local groups. They rightly highlighted that they should be involved at the earliest opportunity to help plan services.

"They are often the ones left to pick up the pieces when the state doesn’t do as well as it should.

“VCVS and the local charities in Barry and the Vale need to be congratulated for the difference they make in the community."