Advent Calendar – 23 December: The Fairytale of Hampshire
In our annual report & accounts we reported on:
We highlighted the dependence on volunteers to deliver health and social services in rural Hampshire – some in the voluntary sector were concerned that “too much was being expected of them at a time when volunteers were in great demand.”
We reported the major debate centered on whether it was “better to take a client to a service or the service to a client in a scattered community” and the conclusion that it was time to think through and plan the most effective way to deliver health and community care services in rural areas.
Thank you to my colleague Jo for pointing these out for, whilst they all sound relevant and topical, they actually came from Action Hampshire’s Annual Reports from the 1980s! Thirty plus years ago we had identified the issues that we are still trying to address.
Looking back, it is tempting to think that these must have been easier to solve in the 1980s – before we faced the additional challenges of accelerated demographic changes (meaning that the needs of many older people are more complex and last for longer); austerity (meaning that we have less resource to address more disadvantage and poverty); house price growth (meaning that we are less likely to have the skills that we need locally – care being just one of them) – and I haven’t even mentioned the impact of Brexit or climate change.
However, we do have tools for solving least some of these issues now that we didn’t have in the 1980s – digital technology is a hugely powerful tool that many not-for-profit organisations have not even begun to benefit from yet. And maybe there is an advantage to the state not being able to meet our needs – as this forces us to find our own solutions. Whether this is a local community buying the pub to maintain a venue for meeting and socialising; a local group of people shaping & developing their own housing or a social enterprise selling classes to enable elderly and wheelchair users to stay physically fit. These are bottom-up, need based solutions, motivated by a desire to solve a problem or make someone’s life better and they can address the issues still outstanding since the 1980s.
And on another positive note, 2018 maybe the year when it was finally realised that you can have too many outsourcing companies (Carillion, Interserve etc) but you cannot have too many social and community enterprises.