In October 2013 I started this blog and posted about why I had decided to start my own organisation which would bring different generations together in their communities. Since then I have met a number of people working with older people and on intergenerational projects. It has been fantastic to learn more about the work others are doing to fulfil the same aim that I have. One organisation I have learnt more about is North London Cares, who are doing really good work to reduce loneliness and is a wonderful example of an organisation that brings communities together to socialise and have fun!
I am still incredibly determined to help reduce loneliness, and still believe that there needs to be a change in the way older people are viewed in this country. However with 180,000 registered charities in the UK (and thousands of small charities whose incomes are below £5,000 a year and so do not need to register with the charity commission) and approximately 70,000 social enterprises in the UK I have to wonder whether starting a brand new organisation in this field is the best way forward. I am therefore starting to contact existing organisations to see if there is a way we can work together to reduce loneliness and also to change the attitudes and stereotypes on older people. With the Government recognising that loneliness is a massive issue in this country, now is the perfect time for us all to be innovative and collaborative in finding a solution to this issue.
Recently I wrote about how I spent the day in Reading trying to promote a free Break-Away coach holiday offered to older people on low incomes by NBFA Assisting the Elderly, and how it was difficult to gain support from local organisations. This led me to wonder whether other organisations also struggle to let people know about their services. From the conversations I have had it seems we were not alone in this. I also began thinking about how many charities people outside the sector know of, and was not overly surprised that the average number of charities people could name off the top of their heads was 5. So out of the 180,000 registered charities, and the thousands of charities with an income too low to be registered, people could only name an average of 5 charities. Granted I only asked a small number of people (25) so this number might not be reflective across society, but I would be amazed if most people outside the voluntary sector could name more than a dozen charities. A possible implication of this is could be that people will only donate to or volunteer with a small number of organisations. It also means that people will not have heard about the fantastic, inspiring work organisations are doing across the country.
For some time now I have been feel frustrated with the way the voluntary sector is viewed by many. The recent charity Chief Executive pay storm brought home to me yet again how most of the general public do not seem to realise how much goes in to running a charity, and how much of a difference charities make to our communities.
All of this has led me to set up an online platform that shares positive, inspiring news from charities, social enterprises, and community projects from across the world. The aim is to highlight the impact charities and social enterprises have, and to spread positivity, inspiration, and learning across the world.
If you are interested in reading positive news for a change, please visit www.goodnewsshared.com for a regular dose of inspirational videos, photos, and news from across the world. Please get involved in sharing the news via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc – you will make someone else’s day, AND you will be supporting not-for-profit organisations in raising awareness of the work they do.