Headlines: March 27th, 2009

Community groups are being asked for their views on how the Government can create social renewal alongside economic renewal during the current recession. The invitation has come from the Council on Social Action, which was set up to advise Government on how to promote social action.

It wants groups to take part in a chain of discussions it hopes will develop ideas on the issue. The first step is for them to respond to ideas set out in the Council’s action paper ‘Stronger Communities, Stronger Economy’. This includes plans for a ‘Common Good’ clause to be part of bank bail out arrangements.

It also proposes the establishment of a national talent bank to manage work-related volunteering and support for businesses to become involved in high level peer mentoring as well as financial incentives for volunteering. David Robinson, vice-chair of the Social Action Council said: “Recession could drive division and exclusion or it could unite us, extracting greater value from all that we have, embracing new ideas and working together on common goals.”

He said the current circumstances presented opportunities and the Council was eager to hear answers to the questions of what these were and how they could be used for everyone’s benefit. Discussion groups will take place in London, Birmingham, Stoke on Trent, Liverpool, and Sheffield. Other communities are being encouraged to organise meetings in their areas.

Ideas generated from the discussions will be fed directly to the Council and form the basis of recommendations to the Prime Minister and Government departments. The events will also feed into the we20 project, a public initiative alongside the G20 summit designed to identify short and longer term solutions to the global economic crisis.