The Big Society

DVD and booklet (March 2011)
Free from the Foundation
View the film
Download a PDF of the booklet

There is currently much discussion, reflected in the media, about what ‘the Big Society’ really means. So far the debate has tended to be rather abstract and philosophical or concerned with public spending reductions or seen from a centralised, national perspective.

The time is right to move the debate on and refocus it around the practical and the local. The Big Society has to be about bringing real and lasting change to communities all over the UK. If it is to do that, then we should ask: What needs to change to make it possible? How can local communities make it a reality?

The Big Society: A view from the frontline was commissioned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to address these questions. The film showcases a diverse range of voluntary and community sector organisations and gives those involved – users as well as managers – the chance to express their views about the Big Society.

Overall they are positive about the concept of the Big Society and feel they demonstrate the Big Society in action. They all have considerable experience and expertise to offer and believe that with the right help from central and local government they could do more. In the film, and in this booklet, they put forward their ideas.

“BCHA’s one big ask of the Big Society would be that we’re very much included, that what we’re doing already is recognised. We’re doing a huge amount, we feel part of the Big Society and that we are creative and innovative.”  -Sarah Ward, Homelessness and Substance Misuse Manager, BCHA

“The Big Society represents an important opportunity for civil society organisations. At its core is the notion of shared responsibility where each sector of society can take part, including citizens, government, civil society and business.” Lord Wei, Adviser to the UK Government on Big Society

Updated on 04 august 2016

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