Very much in the news, the ‘big society’ is David Cameron’s Big Idea for empowering communities, redistributing power, fostering a culture of volunteerism and encouraging greater personal and family responsibility and community activism. Synics have suggested that the plans are a cover for substantial cuts in public services, and certainly saving money is one of the factors driving this initiative through, but also devolving power down in to the community will allow people to have more say over planning decisions and voluntary groups run local public services.
To much of the nation this might seem like a radical new idea, but one organisation, CitizensUK, have been doing just this for over 20 years. As the national home for community organising, their goal is to build the power of communities who work together for the common good. By training citizen organisers in the community they allow people to rally together and tackle local issues and problems, to meet big businesses on a level playing field and to ‘do politics’ on both a local and national level.