Bigger society

Letter to the Telegraph


SIR – We are concerned about criticisms of civil society from politicians and commentators in debating “the Big Society”. Some have said “there is no such thing”, that “there is little appetite” for greater citizen involvement in Britain and that “it cannot be done”. They risk undermining the very notion that civil society should play a role in public life.


A PoliticsHome survey found that the majority of people (55 per cent) would like more community involvement in improving the quality of life in Britain, and only 20 per cent said they would not have the time to get involved.


Citizens can and should be allowed to be active in their community by participating in local groups to make simple but significant improvements – for example by lobbying to get new pedestrian crossings put in to save children’s lives, by forming Neighbourhood Watch groups, or by deciding the spending priorities of their local council.


While it can be tough for citizens to run hospitals and schools single-handedly, they can and should – with help from social enterprises as well as the state – have much more of a say over those services and be allowed to commission aspects of local services where they can and where there is demand.


Writing from bipartisan and apolitical perspectives, we believe the notion that civil society should play a vital role in the nation’s future is important. We will stand together to pool our resources to make this a reality, regardless of who is in power after tomorrow.


Tony Burton

Civic Voice


Titus Alexander

Novas Scarman Group


Paul Twivy

Social Entrepreneur


Neil Jameson

Citizens UK


Stephen Kearney, Julia Olsen, Nick Gardham

Action to RE:generate Community Trust


Adele Blakeborough

CAN Breakthrough


Sarah Hodgkinson

Getting on Board


Andrew Dick



Ben Lee

Social Entrepreneur


Cliff Prior



Julia Ogilvy

Project Scotland


Steve Wyler

Development Trusts Association


Tris Dyson



Emma-Jane Cross

Beat Bullying


Giles Gibbons

Good Business


Alex Watson

Social Entrepreneur


Alison Rodwell

Social Entrepreneur


Jas Bains

Social Entrepreneur


Julian Dobson

New Start Magazine


Daniel Snell and Emily Shenton

Arrival Education


Gail Greengross

Social Entrepreneur


David Barker

Whitebox Digital


Katie Ivens

Real Action


Malcolm Scovil

Leap Anywhere


Rob Owen

St Giles Trust


Jackie Hill-Wilson

G-ten at Ten Lifestyle Management


Sylvia Brown



Duncan Cheatle

The Supper Club and


Simon Jay

Lift Community Trust


Stephen Dawson

Impetus Trust


Steve Moore

More Media


Tim West

Social Enterprise Wire


Peter Gardner and


Tracy Blackwell

Pension Corporation


Yinka Makinda

Social Entrepreneur


Rob Lamond

Forster for Change


Marjorie Thompson

Conservative Cooperative Movement


Beverley Clark and Sue Bamford

Say Yes UK


Marcus Booth

Travers Smith


Jo Rice



Nerys Anthony

Turning Point

Contact us

Co-operative Movement
55 Tufton Street
London SW1P 3QL
[email protected]

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