Having spent the late morning and early afternoon delivering newsletters, it occurs to me that if David Cameron’s Big Society idea is to work, it needs to start at the lowest possible level and that’s you and me. Well meaning, movers and shakers getting together to form action groups have their place, but there’s already plenty of those around.
I spent part of New Year’s eve picking up rubbish around our main communal area in Wygate Park, the neighbourhood shopping area. It would of been great if this didn’t need doing because people thought about what they were doing to the place where they live and took their rubbish home with them. The problem is, they don’t actually live there, where the shops are, they live in the nearby streets and roads, so it appears to be a case of out of sight is out of mind.
However, my trip around the local streets suggests that this attitude also applies closer to homes, at least for some people. As well general rubbish either dumped in the front of down the side of houses, there was also litter and refuse lying in gutters or on communal grassed areas.
If the Big Society idea is going to work, this sort of local mess just should not happen, with local people seeing it as their role to clean it up. They shouldn’t be waiting for the council to do it or, worse still, not even noticing it’s there.
The Big Society can only become a real success if individuals start to play a role in making their communities nicer places to live and I think that may well take a lot longer than David Cameron thinks it will.