Steve Moore from the Big Society Network

Steve begins with an overview of the Big Society.

‘This is a political idea from the conservative manifesto, that then moved across in to the coalition. It has the backing of the Government. We’re looking at lots of new ideas; the office for civil society (OCS), the pathfinder service; the Big Society Bank; Social Action across the country, and the Big Society Network itself.

We are securing independent funding. We are drawing up business plans… but at the heart of what we’re trying to do, is the desire to create a new organisation that will provide a legacy.

Steve Moore refers to ‘Your Square Mile’ - an idea that will essentially make civic engagement easier. An overarching theme behind this idea is joining together to remove identified barriers to change – for example by creating a mutual, discounted insurance could be available to all, and simpler, cheaper CRB checks for volunteers. At the heart of YSM is the belief that there are tools and technologies that enable people to come together, more efficiently.

Some of these social action initiatives are already taking place (e.g.; Orange’s ‘mobilise’ project; and . Steve refer to Streetclub as an example of the difference that connecting up one street can make to a entire neighbourhood, and to an individual. The outcomes from such simple projects are unexpected and delightful. We want to encourage these ideas, to make it easier for them to happen, as well as improve access to online apps that make it easier to get involved with your community or to ‘do good’. We want to look at how to make the most of the new possibilities of our age’.

From September to Christmas the Big Society will be delivering a town hall tour over 12 regions in the UK. We are also open to helping people self-organise similar events.

A Big Society Apps store is in the making (see the blog post about the Apps Store pitched by David Wilcox).

‘We want to hear ideas tonight. We want to see what happens when people come together to do these things – we are not prescribing what the Big Society will look like. We will respond to the ideas that emerge’.

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