'Invaluable' but not affordable

First published in From The Editor's Chair
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Blog: Editor Peter Barron by

The "Big Society" existed long before David Cameron conjured up his election label as if he had just invented the concept of volunteering.

A vast army of volunteers carries out priceless work in local communities across the country. In many ways, those volunteers are the glue that holds society together.

In tomorrow's Northern Echo, we publish a story which is laden with irony and underlines how those voluntary organisations are suffering as a result of austerity measures.

At the start of this week, the Prime Minister bestowed a Big Society award on Nightstop North-East, which offers emergency accommodation to homeless youngsters.

The award was in recognition of its "invaluable service, reaching out a helping hand to some of the region's most vulnerable young people".

Days later, Nightstop has announced it will be closing its Teesside branch in March because of a lack of funding.

The Big Society Award is nice but it doesn't help cover the costs that every charity carries. Those organisations - the glue - are coming unstuck because grants from local authorities have dried up.

There will, of course, be the usual debate over who is responsible. The Government will blame inefficient councils, and councils will blame Government cuts.

Either way, the harsh reality is that support for the most vulnerable members of society is being lost and, in such a desperately sad context, awards are meaningless. 

 

Comments (2)

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10:31pm Tue 19 Feb 13

ajtib3 says...

Regularly on PMQs Cameron uses the existence of foodbanks as a good example of the Big Society.

It would be laughable if so many weren't suffering as a result of his and Osborne's failing policies.
Regularly on PMQs Cameron uses the existence of foodbanks as a good example of the Big Society. It would be laughable if so many weren't suffering as a result of his and Osborne's failing policies. ajtib3
  • Score: 0

8:57am Wed 20 Feb 13

simmo707 says...

BROKEN BRITAIN UNDER TORIES – CAMERON/BLAIR SYNDROME
Cameron is no Different to Blair when it comes to a camera opportunity both should learn to engage their brains before opening their mouths .They both have the ability to talk the talk to any given situation never mind the consequences .Supposedly the Government are concerned about the immigration of Bulgarians and Romanians in 2014 yet Cameron publicly invited all and sundry from India to Britain in the hope of securing business deals with India .Similar to Blair he is that accustomed to feeding the British Public dross it becomes second nature .He should be getting to grips with domestic issues such as the impending Electricity shortage and price hike instead of selling himself as a credible British Politician abroad expenses paid for by us .www.brokenbritainun
dertories.com
BROKEN BRITAIN UNDER TORIES – CAMERON/BLAIR SYNDROME Cameron is no Different to Blair when it comes to a camera opportunity both should learn to engage their brains before opening their mouths .They both have the ability to talk the talk to any given situation never mind the consequences .Supposedly the Government are concerned about the immigration of Bulgarians and Romanians in 2014 yet Cameron publicly invited all and sundry from India to Britain in the hope of securing business deals with India .Similar to Blair he is that accustomed to feeding the British Public dross it becomes second nature .He should be getting to grips with domestic issues such as the impending Electricity shortage and price hike instead of selling himself as a credible British Politician abroad expenses paid for by us .www.brokenbritainun dertories.com simmo707
  • Score: 0

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