You are on page 1of 2



The
Big
Society
Network



The
Challenge


Flourishing
local
social
enterprises
and
neighbourhood
groups
have
transformed
the
lives
of

individuals
and
communities
throughout
Britain,
building
upon
the
long‐standing
work
of
national

social
organisations.
Yet,
despite
these
tremendous
success
stories,
many
British
citizens
–
faced
with

huge
economic,
environmental
and
personal
challenges
in
their
daily
lives
–
still
feel
isolated,

disempowered,
unequal
and
disinterested
in
civic
life:


- Social
isolation
and
loneliness
have
reached
record
levels
amongst
old
and
young
alike:
7

million
people
live
on
their
own
in
England
and
Wales,
and
1
in
10
of
the
population

report
feeling
lonely
on
a
regular
basis

- Community
fragmentation
is
increasing,
and
the
BBC’s
analysis
of
census
data
shows

that
97%
of
communities
are
more
fragmented
than
in
1971

- Average
life
expectancy
can
vary
between
wealthy
and
poor
areas
by
over
14
years,
and

the
richest
10%
of
the
population
are
100
times
as
wealthy
as
the
poorest
10%

- Only
39%
of
people
feel
able
to
influence
local
decisions,
and
only
3%
of
citizens
attend

public
meetings
regularly

- Only
26%
of
people
take
part
in
any
formal,
monthly
volunteering
activity


However,
we
have
entered
an
era
in
which
anger,
frustration
and
a
sharper
interest
in
real
democracy

can
be
channelled
into
positive,
creative
energy
and
action.
There
is
a
real
opportunity
to
transform

the
recent
political
and
economic
crises
into
an
opportunity,
and,
in
the
context
of
a
new
political
era,

help
catalyse
mass
engagement
and
participation.


The
Big
Society
Vision


A
new
relationship
between
Citizens
and
Government:
a
collective
decision‐making
process
in
which

both
are
active
and
willing
co‐participants.



A
society
of
empowered
individuals,
strong
neighbourhood
groups,
and
greater
community

participation.



A
society
in
which
more
money,
resources
and
powers
are
vested
locally,
thereby
building
benefits
of

increased
trust,
more
visible
results
and
reduced
bureaucracy.


A
society
in
which
social
enterprise
is
a
strong
and
valued
economic
model,
enabling
many
people
to

invest
confidently
in
social
outcomes
through
time,
skill
and
money.



The
Big
Society
Network’s
Mission


We
want
to
turn
The
Big
Society
into
a
practical,
accessible
and
rewarding
reality
of
everyday
value
to

citizens,
enabling
them
to
successfully
take
action
in
their
local
areas.



Our
Three
Goals


1)
To
encourage
and
enable
meaningful,
local
action
by
citizens,
especially
amongst
people
who
are

currently
unengaged
in
their
communities.


2)
To
raise
the
number
of
people
who
take
part
in
neighbourhood
groups
outside
of
work
and
home,

and
to
support
those
groups
as
they
grow.


3)
To
help
neighbourhood
groups
and
social
enterprises
access
local
powers
and
rights
created
under

the
government’s
“Big
Society
legislation”.


What
is
our
style
of
approach?


We
will
be
a
crusading
voice
for
citizens
and
an
independent,
challenging
partner
to
Government.


We
will
be
a
small,
nimble
nucleus
of
people
who
combine
campaigning,
technology
and
marketing

skills
with
the
ability
to
quickly
research
or
develop
new
citizen‐focussed
ideas.


We
will
provide
an
enormous
helping
hand
but
a
light
touch
on
the
tiller,
creating
a
platform
or

showcase
for
other
people’s
“apps”.


Our
Projects
and
Campaigns



Working
with
experienced
partners,
we
are
developing
a
portfolio
of
initiatives
to
encourage
and

enable
all
people
to
get
increasingly
involved
in
their
local
area.
These
will
range
from
creating
very

easy,
rewarding
opportunities
for
community
participation
based
on
local
events
and
personal

hobbies
or
passions,
to
supporting
simple
group
actions
for
neighbourhood
improvement,
and
extend

to
sophisticated,
local
professional
help
for
social
enterprises
and
community
groups.


Our
flagship
project
will
be
“Your
Square
Mile”,
a
mutual
owned
by
citizens
that
will
enable
people
to

take
effective
social
action
in
their
local
area.
In
the
coming
weeks
and
months,
we
will
be
developing

and
refining
this
idea
along
with
other
our
projects
and
campaigns
through
an
open‐door,
co‐
designing
process.
This
outreach
process
will
include
a
wide‐ranging
Town
Hall
Tour,
providing
a

forum
for
public
debate
and
the
generation
of
practical
ideas.



Our
Five
Outcomes



1. Building
social
capital
and
community
cohesion:
strengthening
social
bonds
between

individuals
within
a
community
by
enabling
and
encouraging
the
growth
and
replication
of

successful
neighbourhood
groups


2. Increasing
civic
participation:
helping
to
address
the
UK’s
real
and
perceived
“democratic

deficit”
by
generating
greater
public
engagement
in
local
civic
institutions,
both
directly
and

through
neighbourhood
groups


3. Strengthening
individuals’
capacity
for
change:
broadening
the
diversity
and
depth
of
civic

engagement
by
helping
all
people
to
get
increasingly
involved
and
to
build
their
confidence

and
capabilities




4. Strengthening
neighbourhood
groups’
capacity
for
change:
empowering
neighbourhood

groups
to
solve
local
problems
by
creating
peer‐to‐peer
learning
opportunities,
and
helping

groups
tap
into
a
local
‘ring
of
support’
from
other
institutions


5. Improving
public
sector
accessibility
and
responsiveness:
building
on
the
power
of
increased

civic
engagement,
creating
new
ways
for
the
public
sector
serve
the
people
rather
than
vice‐
versa