Building the ‘big society’ on the ‘little people’

Photo: Conservatives via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo: Conservatives via Flickr Creative Commons

The term ‘summer holiday’ does not apply to the many weeks students have stretched before them before University starts again. Instead, this period should be called ‘the summer where you save the world and enhance your CV’. In line with this sort of thinking I have allowed myself to dream that I am floating around council estates with a philanthropic smile feeding starving children and saving the local brute from a path of crime. But back to reality and sitting in front of my bank statement, I know that I have lots of rent to pay and will have to sacrifice life changing opportunities to fling dinner in someone’s face and hope they give me a tip.

The same problem can be applied to David Cameron’s ‘big society’ scheme. As Cameron announced his intention to re-release life into “soulless” communities through giving councils and charities more power; you could almost hear the cartoon bluebirds singing in the distance. But unfortunately, just as I was forced to relinquish my dreams to save the world in favour of financial survival, Cameron also risks loosing his ‘big society’ dream due to grant cuts for the charities he’s relying on.

I hate to say it but there is no point handing an opportunity to someone and then removing their money. As much as charities might be praised for their selfless commitment to society, they still need money to function properly. Even if charities were so heartfelt that they insisted on working with no money, they would soon be in the same situation as those they were trying to provide aid for in the first place; a homeless agency would be fairly useless if they were homeless themselves.

These problems lead to this question: can we be both charitable and financially successful? Can we save the world and save ourselves at the same time? Luckily, the answer is yes. I don’t have to drop everything and fly half way across the world to make a difference, as much as it might sound cheesy, I can help build this ‘big society’ through small things. That might be giving away some of the money I earn to charity, campaigning for injustice, or just by chatting to someone on the bus. Likewise, charities might have to officially close to allow people to earn money elsewhere, but their desire to help people would not be removed.

Although we would all agree everything would be more effective if we had more money, there doesn’t seem to be too much of that flying around at the moment – so let’s try and make do with what we have.


  1. Even for student journalism this is poor. Not quite sure what it is even meant to be saying…

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  2. Dear Sarc….
    What on earth are you talking about? Considering your someone who feels they can take a high and mighty stance on this article, are you sure you actually read it? Not skim reading or reading while the telly’s on in the background? I think this is an excellent article, I completely agree about how summer should be renamed from being a holiday to a soul search!!!
    Can’t wait to READ your next article!!

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  3. @ Hannah losing not loosing (unless it is being discharged from some form of projectile equipment)

    @Fran you’re not your

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  4. 18 Aug ’10 at 9:53 pm

    Why does nobody complain about male genital mutilation?

    @ Chris, I’m afraid your formatting is inconsistent. When addressing Hannah, you left a space after ‘@’. When addressing Fran, you did not. One could also argue that your punctuation was not extensive enough. If you’re going to be a pedant, do it properly.

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