I’m sat at the back of the Manchester Intl Convention Centre watching a truly inspirational presentation by four community workers. David Cameron, chat show style, has introduced each of their stories. Again and again the stories are showing that government bureaucracy and short-term funding patterns frustrate the work of social entrepreneurs. ‘What works’ in overcoming inner city disadvantage are self-help schemes where communities come together, often led by inspirational individuals. (1) Partnership with the private sector; (2) respect for the faith-basis of many of the most innovative charities; (3) encouragement of volunteering (rather than an emphasis on paid professionals) and (4) a more mature attitude to risk by funding organisations are four ingredients for better community regeneration.
This emphasis on ‘community’ and ‘people’ was the fourth and most
important component of a Conservative policy for the cities, said David
Cameron. The other three ingredients were a war on crime, better
schooling and more affordable housing.