A Real Big Society

As I’ve described in my autobiography, “The Other Side of the Doors” (https://bit.ly/2Ar8QjI), I used to live what, to most people, would have seemed a normal life. I was married, had two children, a mortgage, a job and commuted to London every day. Yet I knew that a different life existed; I just couldn’t find the door into it. Well, as you might have gathered from the title of the book, I did. In my case, it was via a divorce, following which, with custody of my children, I moved to another part of the country to become a full time student. It was life changing. So much so that I started on a long road that led me to where I am now and not somewhere that I ever thought I’d be. On my sixth career as an author and speaker. So, apart from the self promotion, what’s this got to do with anything?

Well, it’s got to do with realising your talents and putting them to good use in a way that benefits both yourself and the wider community. Building, in fact, those “little pieces of Wonderland” that I write about ( https://bit.ly/2SiIJSU).

Now, I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to do this for almost 40 years, mainly in sustainable development and self help projects. These latter, ones in which, those normally on the receiving end in our society, are given the opportunity to solve their own problems in the most practical of ways. That they were very successful was demonstrated by the comments of one government minister who, on visiting one of these projects, described it as “demonstrating the extraordinary abilities of ordinary people”. The minister shouldn’t have been surprised at that untapped talent and what, once realised, it was capable of.

Now, in this scheme, not only did people, who were homeless and unemployed, build their own homes but they also learned skills other than building. They learnt about organisation, management, budgets, planning, design and a whole host of other things. They also developed self confidence. So, the next time I write about “little pieces of Wonderland”, please consider that they don’t have to be just “pieces”. If more people were given the opportunities, those pieces could be joined up to become more of a whole. In this way, developing that, previously unrealised, talent makes for a better society. You might even call it a “Real Big Society” made up of more fulfilled people in a more sustainable land. Now wouldn’t that be something?

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