Whether they talk of the big society or of the third sector, politicians know that charities and volunteers are becoming indispensable building blocks of the national life. And when a nation’s credit is as overextended as ours, making the most of charities becomes pure common sense. Charities are more than just a vehicle for taking up government slack, however.
Their independence, their adaptability and their lay character allows them to get to the parts that governments cannot reach.
They encourage people to get involved in community life, and remind us that we need not and should not look to the state to right all wrongs. As such, they are symptoms of a healthy and sympathetic society.