Sunday, 13 February 2011

The Big Society

Watching Question Time on Thursday I was really annoyed when the so called 'experts' were discussing the 'Big Society'.

I must be simple as I thought we all knew what the 'Big Society' was when David Cameron announced it last year.

Big Society - the general public doing volunteer work in the community, helping their neighbours, running scout and guide groups, running sports clubs, sitting on committees of village halls, churches, local museums etc for FREE. I seem to have misunderstood, it seems that the Big Society is another name for local government, surely not!

All we hear about is how much money will the 'Big Society' get - sorry but the idea of volunteering is to give your time and energy for 'FREE'.

Obviously there is going to be less money around over the coming years so volunteers will have to step in and do more. Locally parents are up in arms about the potential loss of Lollipop (wo)men, some parents even expect them to be provided within 20 metres of a pelican crossing. Surely it would be better for these parents to teach their children to cross the road safely using the facilities provided. Those whose children attend schools where there is no pedestrian crossing should volunteer to man a lollipop crossing themselves. Youth clubs are threatened with closure as funding is withdrawn unless the paid youth workers are replaced by volunteers, but parents don't have time! Oh, but I keep forgetting the currently way of thinking is that it should always be someone else who should offer these provisions, not us the general public.

I am not saying that those who lose their jobs will be pleased with the cutbacks, I do hope they find alternative employment, but I do think we should all think carefully about what needs to be done by paid employees and what can be done by genuine volunteers.

I think it is an insult to all those who already give their time to the 'Big Society' to imply that their work is paid for.

End of todays rant!

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