I am a big believer in the concept of the Big Society - if you come to Northumberland you see it every day - and we were practising this long before the last election: I had a good example last Sunday when in Humshaugh - I arrived to buy the Sunday papers at the Village Shop to find Ray and Sally - who are both volunteers - busy running the shop. They are not paid. They are simply part of a community who are prepared to step in and get involved where traditional models have failed. However, I accept that not everyone can do as Humshaugh did although they are doing all they can to spread the message.
But ... as governments across the world take a lesser role in the state there are going to be different ways in which society steps in to address peoples concerns about their commnuity - and new ways of financing such plans.
There is a clear role for investors to see a genuine return on an investment that also provides a community benefit. This is the ethos behind Big Society Capital, which will create a whole new culture of social investment that is not charity or philanthropy. Those encouraged to invest under the new models developed by Big Society Capital will be expecting a return. Charities will not apply direct for loans. BSC will put its £600 million into specialist investment funds such as Big Issue Invest, which will in turn invest in charities and social enterprises.
Creating a Community based return on capital can only be a good thing in my view
For fuller details see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17602323