So much of what Polly is saying on behalf of Shelter, resonates with my own personal experience and many will have often heard me cite similar on behalf of the Oxfordshire Community Foundation.
So whilst Shelter are active at a National level and are solely focussed on homelessness and housing, OCF is about all the local places and communities across what is otherwise known as Oxfordshire. However, I would suggest both organisations share a determination 'to empower and amplify the voice of anyone who wants to work alongside us, big or small.'
The real importance of that message, is that now more than ever before there is a real urgency for us all to find ways to greater understanding and tolerance, to work together for Our Common Good and something bigger than ourselves.
Transformation and systems change will only ever succeed when there is a shared and collective vision. I believe that organisations of all sorts and sizes not just those in the voluntary sector are needed to unlock the real power in our communities to create a fairer, greener and more compassionate society by reducing inequalities and improving social justice.
That’s why we are fully behind the Big Support Small campaign. Charities with incomes of less than £1m make up 97 per cent of charities in England and Wales. The Small Charities Coalition, made up of 9,000 members and supporters is launching the Big Support Small campaign today to mark the start of Small Charity Week 2019. When the SCC reached out to me for support, I remembered the huge impact and unique contribution of the small charities I’ve worked with. They are civil society in action, reminding us of the foundations of a big organisation like Shelter – people coming together to change things for the better. It is simply not possible for us to do our best for the communities we serve without their expertise and deep understanding. And that does not mean learning from them and then leaving them behind. It has to mean true partnership. But big supporting small doesn’t stop at conventional partnerships. There is pressure across civil society. Resources are scarce and the need is huge and growing. I don’t ever want to think I can’t learn something new from someone who works for a smaller organisation. Where we can listen, we should; where we can support, we must. Collectively, we must not be just the cushion that allows a total retreat by the state from our most vulnerable people and communities.