So apparently the Big Society is being relaunched by the UK government today. This confuses me as I hadn't realised that it had actually been launched in the first place. I knew that it had been talked about but that's all that seems to be done. Talk. Revelation space summed it up very nicely for me today in his blog. What does this Big Society actually entail?
I'll admit, when I first heard the idea my heart sank. My heart sank even further when I heard it mooted that they may set up a scheme where by you could bank volunteer hours to offset care in your old age. I mean, volunteering sounds great but how they hell am I supposed to fit it in? I work, and a huge amount of prep and marking for my job as a teacher is done in my own time out side of school. I also study, admittedly I don't have to, it's my own choice but it makes me better at what I do. I have a house to take care of. I have to exercise to make sure I'm not a burden on the NHS. I have a family - I would like some time to see my family.
I felt utterly down hearted that I would be made to feel like a crap member of this country because I can't see where I'd find the space to volunteer too. Then it was pointed out that I already volunteer. i don't count it as volunteering because I do it because I enjoy it but I play in the Concert Band and we raise money for charity.
But here's the next issue with I have with the concept of the big society. Will that count? Will we have to volunteer to do things that the government wants us to do rather than things we enjoy and are good at - or are doing already? I would imagine that the Concert Band won't count because it's not saving the government any money.
Lastly, I'm also going to train to be a breast feeding peer supporter. This is voluntary and important for the NHS. Probably will save them some cash too but here's the problem. To do it properly once I'm qualified, I'll need time off work. Can't see work liking that idea.
But it all comes down to what Revelation Space has pointed out, no one knows. There's no detail to this big plan. It's all just 'wouldn't it be great' style waffle.
We need details.