There was a time, pre-Welfare State, when folk used to help each other out a lot more. In the absence of state led provision, if people in communities didn’t support each other then no-one else would.
Over the course of two generations that spirit has been lost. Supporting those who are struggling in life is now seen most generally as ‘the job of the Government/Council’.
Yet, over the course of that same half century we have discovered that we cannot actually afford that outlook. We do not want to stump up the significantly higher taxes that would be necessary to provide all the help that is needed through publicly funded services.
Next week is Volunteers Week. This is our annual opportunity to celebrate the work of volunteers in our society and several of our local organisations are going to be doing just that.
It is also an opportunity to highlight volunteering through publicity and encourage others to volunteer.
Perhaps, though, also a time to reflect that it it is time to turn back the clock, that volunteering needs to become, once again, a cornerstone of our culture. To not volunteer in some way within our society, to put something into the community, really ought to be like wearing shorts to a funeral or driving under the influence – socially unacceptable.