Serving the Grass Roots

#HelpAndKindness is about supporting the grass-roots projects and organisations that work in the community, and making a positive difference to the resilience, sustainability, and sense of inclusion for those who are carrying out this work.

It is only by providing this value that we believe the #HelpAndKindness project will be successful. If we only expect or demand things from people, we will be just another burden, whereas if we can give a service that is practical, useful, and supportive, then we hope people will feel engaged with what we’re trying to achieve too, and want to work with us.

This awareness has been reinforced through many conversations over the past months. Several people who run support groups and activities have said that they can feel worried when local government, big organisations, and outside agencies start to approach them for some kind of involvement in their activity. There is always a sense that the ownership will be taken away from the grass roots, and the hard work and commitment that they have put into their activity will be swept up and “claimed” by someone else.

This sensitivity is particularly acute at the moment. When central funding for public-sector services has been eroded so dramatically, and charities and voluntary groups have had to step in to fill the gaps, those that have stepped into the breach and are now providing services rightly want to retain their independence and their identity, and not be subsumed into some central service offering as if they were “owned”, managed or commissioned by that central organisation.

Our approach is different from this. We are aiming to put more in instead of taking more out of the resources offered in the community. We hope to create a project that is built on trust and respect, and to become a support for everyone who is working so hard to look after the people and places around them.

We hope that our own independence and long-standing involvement with the community will resonate with the grass-roots organisations, and help us to clearly establish our model of service to the community through the development of #HelpAndKindness.