Manchester, and Volunteering Week

I could not start this week’s entry in any other way than to pay my respects to the relatives of those killed in Monday’s terrorist attack in Manchester, and to wish those injured a full recovery.  We had a sombre minute’s silence and speeches in the Annual Council Meeting this week, along with many national events.  Many thousands of words have been written on the subject in the past week, by people far more eloquent than me, and the common theme is a struggle to come to terms with such an attack on an event where the majority of participants are children.

More positively, Volunteering Week starts on Thursday 1 June, and we will be participating fully.  This is all the more relevant as we focus on increasing community capacity, or People Helping People as we have branded it.  The bottom line is that public services in the UK are changing, and we have recognised that individuals and communities are better placed to look after themselves than the state.

In Staffordshire, we have already got a nationally recognised track record of doing this, with community groups running libraries, children’s centres and youth centres, but there is much more to do.  I would recommend watching the People Helping People video for those who have not yet seen it, as it will give you an idea of what is being planned.  You can watch the video by clicking here.

It is about practical initiatives which make the difference to communities, giving them the tools and the techniques to do things for themselves rather than the state doing it for them.  It’s a different type of public service – the old saying of “give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach him to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime”, encapsulates it well.


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