Editor, Diane, meets Prime Minister David Cameron to talk about The Big Society initiative
Getting invited to Downing Street for a reception to honour the latest recipients of The Big Society Awards (the London 2012 Games Makers and London Ambassadors, since you ask) was exciting enough. To be given the chance to spend time talking one-to-one to the PM about one of his favourite projects was an unexpected opportunity.
Politics aside, I’m a fan of Mr Cameron. I think the way he has coped with personal tragedy (the death of his son Ivan) and kept his family quietly on the fringes of the spotlight, whilst making it clear how important they are to him, is admirable. And to see him so animated and passionate about a cause he so obviously believes strongly in, was a refreshing antidote to the carefully-crafted sound-bite communiques we’re used to hearing from politicians.
The PM admitted there was nothing new in the message of The Big Society. That people had been volunteering and working to improve their communities for generations. What he hoped was that through the initiative, the government would both encourage these kinds of enterprises and make it easier and more possible for people to get involved.
Mr Cameron explained that the projects people can take part in, or start up themselves, don’t need to be huge. Something as simple as giving needy families any surplus veg from an allotment is as valuable and important as a large-scale project working with whole communities. He suggested people could contact their local Volunteer Bureau as the best starting point.
He also encouraged anyone who knows someone who does a wonderful bit of volunteering to write into Downing Street, and to nominate them for a Big Society Award (you can see how on their website, by clicking on this link here.)