Sunday, 27 March 2011
There’s been a lot talk about the Big Society recently and the UKRF has spent a fair bit of time attempting to drill down into what exactly is being promoted by the new coalition government. We’re still not there yet but one thing is clear, big society is hugely contentious.
Is it a mask for massive cuts in the public sector? Is it something that lots of people have been doing for years? Is it all style and no substance? Does it herald a revolution in the way we think and act within civil society?
Should those with progressive ideas engage with big society or will this engagement support an ideologically driven privatisation of the welfare state? Where does recovery sit within the big society? Questions, questions and not a lot of answers!
So we’ve fallen back on one of the UKRF key messages; We make the path by walking it, and decided to get stuck in.
A forum for developing and discussing the big society has been set up (Big Society in the North) and its first event took place on Tuesday the 27th of July in Sheffield. The purpose of the event was:
“To see what scope there is for building a Big Society in the North that can help to support the wealth of social action that is already happening in our communities, and encourage and exchange new ideas. We want to focus on ideas for action, not another theoretical discussion of the concept or philosophy of the Big Society”.
See here for more details and perhaps join up if you feel like it. At the event people were given the opportunity to pitch their own ideas (three minutes!) so Alistair Sinclair from the UKRF went along and this was essentially his ‘pitch’. You can see this and all the other speakers.
The UKRF ‘Big Idea
The UKRF intends to enable community-led emerging recovery communities and recovery networks to develop and expand across the North West through the establishment and support of five regional Recovery Networks; Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside.
A conference (organised by the UKRF and the National Treatment Agency North-West) for those recovering and in recovery from substance use issues will take place on the 9th of September 2010 and the community-led networks will be established following this. For more details regarding the conference please click here.
The UK Recovery Federation proposes that the new regional recovery networks (made up of recovering people, people in recovery and key recovery allies), are resourced to develop a strong North-West community-led and recovery-focused infrastructure that coordinates and supports the generation of recovery communities and initiatives.
A principle focus of the networks will be to establish and support Recovery Settlements across the North-West. These settlements (modelled on the US Settlement Movement, as pioneered by Jane Addams at Hull House in Chicago from 1889) will build recovery and social capital through generating and supporting new social enterprises and community initiatives.
These community-led initiatives will provide volunteering and employment opportunities for recovering and ‘recovered’ individuals. They will be a physical focal point within communities where organisations, groups and individuals can come together (link up) to plan and deliver projects and services that support and promote recovery, community empowerment and meaningful opportunities for community members.
The North-West Recovery Networks will deliver the following outcomes:
1) A significant increase in the numbers of people that address their substance use issues and savings within the current treatment budget in the North-West.
2) The mobilisation of people in recovery who wish to give back to their communities and the creation of Recovery Activists (people in recovery drawn from diverse communities, in every North-West region).
3) The formation of a strong bridge between recovery-oriented treatment services and recovery communities and the establishment of coherent recovery-oriented quality standards for treatment services.
4) The skilling-up of recovering people and people in recovery which will enable them to access education, employment and mainstream community services.
5) The expansion and promotion of a wide range of mutual aid support structures in every North-West region.
6) The establishment of strong recovery-focused partnerships between the public, voluntary, social enterprise and private sector.
7) The wide promotion across the North-West region of the recovery achievements of individuals, groups, communities and organisations.
8) Community members generating their own creative solutions to substance use issues within their communities.
9) The core message of the UKRF (Recovery is a Reality) embedded within all regions of the North-West.
This was the ‘pitch’. Let us know what you think.