Article for the Droitwich Advertiser

The Coalition Government has come together with a real ambition to put more power and opportunity into people’s hands.
We want to give citizens, communities and local government the power and information they need to come together, to solve the problems they face and to build the Britain they want. The idea is to create a Big Society.

The concept is not new for the people of Droitwich. For example, last week saw the unofficial and partial opening of the town’s canals. For over thirty years, volunteers have worked tirelessly towards the completion of this project. Their vision of a 21-mile cruising ring in the heart of Worcestershire will soon become a reality. They, not government, kept the dream alive.

Or look at the town’s volunteer group, Start All Over Again. Aimed at business people who have been made redundant, or who are about to be, the idea is to help people meet others going through a similar experience and to see that they are not alone. The support group offers help and advice; often external people are brought in to offer guidance of a kind the State just couldn’t.

Local government can help to make things happen too. Look at the Droitwich Spa Area Partnership, an alliance that brings the public, private, community and voluntary sectors together to deliver real improvements for local people in Droitwich Spa and across 28 surrounding rural parishes. The recent Salt Day event to celebrate the town’s historic association with salt, dating back to the Iron Age, is now in its fifth year and is organised by the Partnership. It’s wonderful to see the day’s growing success.

We need to draw on the skills and expertise of people across the country as we respond to the social, political and economic challenges Britain faces. The community in Droitwich sets a shining example in building that Big Society.

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