What a fabulous set of pupils from Windsor Girls, who gave up their Saturday night to volunteer at the Butterfly Ball at the Castle Hotel last weekend. People of all ages volunteer day in and day out around Windsor and will continue to do so, whether they get reward points or not. You get a lot out of volunteering personally as it makes you feel connected to the community you are a part of. Wanting to contribute to society with no reward is an admirable thing and should not be politicised as the ‘Big Society’.
The messages from the ’Big Society’ are getting a bit confused in the telling. On one hand, Adopt-a -Street is taking pride in your area – at the same time street cleaning is being used as stick for non-compliant benefit claimants. The council are at pains to say that the Big Society is not about getting charity and volunteers to provide council services on the cheap, so we must ensure that this is not the case.
In the States, disadvantaged communities are served by large charities, such as the United Way, who operate in large companies to fund and man community projects. Employees contribute with time and fundraising. This is all well and good for the areas which have a large company in their community but this help can disappear as a company is relocated or closes down. With the lack of a coherent welfare state these people are dependent on charity and volunteers. I believe the majority of British public are not keen to go down this route to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
As always – these are just my views – I’d be happy to listen to yours.