Compassion for others is the bedrock of the voluntary sector. We count our blessings, we put into context our lives compared to others. And we get angry too, angry that rights enshrined by law are being undermined by poor practice. And we are furious when prejudice, violence, abuse and hatred are given a licence.
In 2016, our reserves of compassion and tolerance have been tested. The political landscape has been turned on its head leaving behind fear, distrust and economic uncertainty for the people we work with. If you’re poor, black, Muslim, Jewish, feminist, immigrant, disabled, unwell or any other group that feels targeted by the majority that have voted for the new politics these are scary times indeed.
The children’s voluntary sector is finding it an increasingly uphill struggle to support families and children in the most vulnerable circumstances. NCB is documenting the changes and identifying the worrying trends that risk leaving the most vulnerable further behind. Whether that’s threats to the legislation that protects children and ensures social care provision, whether that’s the growing gap in health inequality or the disinvestment in early intervention we know that the next few years are going to be even tougher.
So, now more than ever we need to hang on to our compassion and proudly demonstrate the amazing work we do on a shrinking resource. We need to channel and give a platform to the anger and passion felt by the people we work with. We need to use our enviable convening skills to bring people and organisations together and find a common, compelling narrative for our demands.
Children and young people deserve a sunnier future, our role as charities working for them and with them is to make sure they have the knowledge, the resilience and the power to make informed choices and control their own destiny.
The voluntary sector sets the example by upholding and proclaiming the values we believe in – inclusivity, fairness, equality, justice, compassion and kindness. We must hold to account our political leaders who undermine and threaten those values. We will continue to be pragmatic and solution focussed but we must be braver and more vigilant.
In the winter gloom and in the midst of such uncertainty it is tempting to despair but a quick look around you and it doesn’t take long to find fantastic examples of people demonstrating care and kindness.
My twitter feed provided two links that made me feel positive today. Firstly, groups helping those feeling threatened by global events.
And secondly, Monday’s ‘SuperMoon’ reminding us that we are all part of the same planet.