One of those misty blog posts has surfaced within in the light of more news of the ‘Family Champions’ strategy led by Emma Harrison, an encouraging entrepreneur who has caught the eye of David Cameron in the aftermath of the riots in England.
She proposes that individuals link up with ‘troubled families’ who need help with finding employment and engagement with civil society. On the radio this morning, she said she intended to get some of the Labour Shadow Cabinet doing this …
Are we now seeing a shift from big institutional directives and processes to the hands-on personal touch that is also becoming prized in commerce and industry? On Sunday, the ecumenical organisation for the homeless in Stirling that I’m involved in, Start Up Stirling, held its annual thanksgiving service. There is a lot to be thankful for, especially the new befriending service that’s being developed, and which will be supported by a substantial tranche of funding from the Chuch of Scotland’s Parish Development Fund. The idea is to link up people in new tenancies with trained befrienders who just are their as a good neighbour, and help them to get used to budgets and rents and finding new friends in the locality.
I suppose it’s just a measure of our dislocated and atomised society that we have to buy in neighbourliness and friendship. But perhaps, too, it’s easier to accept when there is just a measure of distance. Can you be a ‘professional’ befriender?