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Localism and the Big Society

RALPHCllr Ralph Baldwin, a councillor in Barking and Dagenham, says the thinking behind the Government's concepts of localism and the Big Society should be combined

For the Big Society to be effective we need to take into account the public viewpoint on charities.  Well we know about empathy and how people of certain backgrounds tend towards certain levels of generosity,
charities use this information to make money.  

The example I shall give is the Food Bank and the Trusell Trust. When I volunteered to help these guys and we stood on the doors of the Supermarket (who are owed gratitude for their kind role) the two key themes that won the public over were clear, one the food was directly given, as opposed to money, and secondly it was directly given to its intended LOCAL recipients (women retreating from domestic violence, ex-forces people living on the streets failing to adjust to civvie life etc in a manner that prevents dependency as we saw with Labour and benefits).  

The key key is that being direct and local maximises the legitimacy and relevance of the charity, it helps people, the very people we care about most, those in our community who we identify with every day. Now we saw the Government get the message wrong on charities who are no strangers to lobbying.  What ought to occur from the massive generosity I witnessed from people of all backgrounds who are currently struggling with their own issues, is that directly local charities should be given a special kite mark or status, perhaps with a Royal Seal as has occurred, but this seal gives these charities and the gifted and driven people that make them live, less of an administrative burden to receive Government Support and more freedom to practise that which they already do expertly.

Leave the form filling for finance based charities and free up those that give immediate aid here where we live and now.  This moves the emphasis from Blairite tax avoidance platforms towards charities that people
can trust, and after all is that not what we have to try and develop at the moment?  In time once trust is built here between our leadership we will then be trusted to deal with those charities that are fraudulent.

Kite Marked/Royal Jubilee Charities simply have to retain their quality label which can be checked, I would advise that ex-forces young people be employed to do this annually as part of a programme of getting back into work or as a voluntary task in the way we select juries and rewarded with a Royal Garden visit or something similar in thanks.

Most people then respect legitimacy, a term many politicians fail again and again to understand, hence their blatant awful hypocrisy. So Big Society projects always rely on legitimacy of process and results.


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