Welcome to my Friday Blog No.4/10
Not a lot to report this week, though I am intensely busy on internal matters (Incorporation, Pqasso, Annual report and Accounts and so on). Necessary, but not interesting to readers.
So, a few wider reflections. There was an excellent article in The Times on Thursday about the Big Society, referring to a new book by Robert Putnam (author of the famous “Bowling Alone”) in which he points to the importance of faith organizations in providing a disproportionate number of volunteers and community activists, but wondering how social capital will be built as society becomes increasingly secular. By contrast, there is a really important study commissioned by Guildford Diocese - “Faith Communities – The Hidden Contribution” – into the economic impact of the work done by faith communities.
I was at NCVYS in London on Thursday at a very useful networking meeting about the Value of Infrastructure Programme, being the title of a programme being developed by NCVO about how to measure the impact of infrastructure organizations. Impressive. We also exchanged thoughts about financial cuts, the Big Society, and new structures. It seems to me that everyone I meet is working really hard against a cumulative background of cuts and increased workload. But I really do think we must have a sense of where we want to be in the voluntary sector AFTER the cuts, and I don’t yet see that vision emerging. My contribution will be to write “think pieces” on social impact bonds, and restructuring.
Big Picture: There are positives. I proof read the next edition of Surrey Youth News this morning – it is full of amazing stories about what young people have done: six Girl Guides swimming across the Channel; a disabled young man doing the DoE expedition training in his “off- road” wheel chair; Vinvolved volunteers working on an intergenerational art project with elderly people, and so on. Then there was an inspirational speech by Dame Stephanie Shirley to the Community Development Foundation, Surrey, on Tuesday about the value, and virtue, of philanthropy. See their website.
Personal disclosure: Delighted that Wasps beat Leicester last Saturday – great match; this week- end by way of contrast I am off on retreat this week- end to the very serene and beautiful Benedictine Abbey at Worth, near Crawley. No phones, tv, computers, indeed complete silence from 9.00pm until 9.00 am. A joy.
Trivial pursuit: I have had complaints (from NCVYS colleagues) that my questions are too obscure, so this is easier:
a) Last week’s answer: Aphrodite was Greek goddess of Love; Love were a great American West coast group with whom Jimi Hendrix played in his early years!
b) This week: (Classical music) 2010 is the 400 th anniversary of which famous piece of classical music (and no.2 in my desert island discs )??
Enjoy your weekend!