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Big Society event

November 2nd 2010

An event has been held in London to discuss the Government's new plan for a "Big Society".

Brent Homeless User Group (B.Hug) organised the meeting to discuss whether the new initiative can be inclusive and can support local communities.

More than 80 people, including homeless people and representatives from the voluntary sector, attended the workshop at The Salvation Army Headquarters in central London in September.

The charity's chief executive Atara Fridler said: "The key question was how to create something that we can all participate in. How do we create a Big Society that includes people who have been marginalised, that allows and encourages all of us to contribute as well as get the help we need?"

The coalition government describes their idea of a Big Society as one where "families, networks, neighbourhoods and communities that form the fabric of so much of our everyday lives" play a "bigger and stronger" part than ever before. This, ultimately, means decentralisation and the use of more volunteers instead of help from the state. Ms Fridler added: "At B.Hug, we have been working for many years with vulnerable people who have experienced homelessness, addiction and mental health problems.

"We know from experience that while these people are often the most excluded members of our society, they each have different knowledge, experience and insight that they can share with their local communities.

"It would, therefore, be a huge missed opportunity if the government's plans to create a Big Society did not make provision for these individuals and ensure that they are included along with other members of our communities."

The event consisted of policy workshops, and a manifesto was produced using the contributions of those attending. Speakers included director of housing at Brent, Martin Cheeseman; New Economics Foundation head of social policy Anna Coote; and B.Hug researcher and volunteer David Wright, who used to be homeless.

• The manifesto can be found at:


November 2010



London's hub

Why Rochester Row?

Over 1,800 convicted under Vagrancy Act

Estimates of ex-service homelessness exaggerated, claims charity

Gone, but not forgotten

A thousand cuts

Boris slammed by homelessness charity

Big Society event

Sleep outs spark debate

Homeless charities gear up for cuts

Children held for fire attack on homeless man in Jamaica

Housing associations treble surpluses

Homeless hate crime passed in Florida

Homeless tours of London

Punks party for the homeless

In from the cold

Ex-homeless Mr England

Housing benefit help

Council strategy restricts emergency beds

First new council homes in a generation

Evictions fall by a third

New changes to housing law

Churches charity urges government to meet housing targets

World Aids Day - 1 December

Could cuts see the return of hostels?

Street Shield 18: A mystery to solve


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© Copyright 2009-2014 The Pavement. Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656 Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760 ISSN (online) 1757-0484