A week that has flashed by, and a worry about how to get things done in April when there are so many Bank Holidays and leave taking, including by me, and we have a Trustees/ Directors meeting on 3 May…I know, plan ahead/time management!
The week began with the Guildford Diocese’s South East Faith Forum on the subject of the Big Society . This included a quite brilliant speech by Rev. Dr Malcolm Brown (CoE Mission and Partnerships Adviser). He put the BS into a historical context: Jeremy Bentham talking about a society of strangers in the 19thC, and hence the need for State intervention, contrasted with Figgis (1910) writing about society as “a community of communities” smaller than the State but larger than mere individuals and families, and so needing intermediary bodies – churches, trade unions, and universities to sustain and nurture them . He also mentioned Phillip Blondel the political thinker behind Cameron on the BS.
As practical examples of the outworking of the vol. sector trying to progress elements of the Big Society, I had a meeting on Thursday with Adult Care service commissioners with our member organisation, Halow about moving a small group of young people out of expensive out county residential care into independent living. Detailed work is now to be done on the costs Surrey CC is incurring from current placements and then to see if there is scope for an initiative funded by social finance. In the afternoon, I had a brilliant meeting about the setting up of the social enterprise to provide employment for young people, which is now going ahead and the company (a CiC) being set up. Massively positive, albeit small scale, and an interesting test bed.
Then today a Keeping in Touch meeting with Surrey CC’s Head of Service for Young People, which was also positive for the sector.
Personal: Up to London this week end to have dinner out with youngest son, and then to support middle son in running the London Marathon. He wants to get in under 4 hours, and has raised £3,500 for a charity supporting children in India (the railway Children) who sleep on the rail tracks.