Cllr Janet Finch-Saunders AM, Shadow Minister for Social Services, today called on the Welsh Labour Government to work to release the full potential of the Big Welsh Society.
Janet said: “I want to advocate the importance of engaging in a relationship of obligations and entitlements within communities.
“Placing the power into the hands of local people means those who know the local issues are empowered to better serve their communities and local needs. We need to move away from the model of the state and the individual which the previous Labour Government in Westminster promoted.
“Rights and access to opportunities go hand-in-hand with responsibility and obligations. The Big Society Scheme through the encouragement of local cooperative enterprises promotes this community responsibility in a positive and productive way.
“I want to see more promotion of local co-operative ventures, such as People’s Supermarkets which sell local produce and help regenerate economic investment in the local community.
Knocking down the criticisms of Ann Jones AM (Labour) that the Big Society would fail young people in need of employment, Janet highlighted the importance of community enterprise and volunteering under the Big Society Scheme: “Volunteering is an invaluable investment in our communities and creates opportunities for young people to develop their experience and increase employability and increases the flexibility of the labour market.
“The concept of the Big Society was designed to progress an age of social and economic aspiration, not an age of austerity.”
Janet has helped to prove social responsibility a success in her constituency as a member of the community enterprise group ‘Friends of Queens Park’. To date the group has raised £40,000 to improve the appearance of the park by providing play equipment and park maintenance services. This has resulted in the Local Authority spending less but being more involved because of the increased community involvement.
Encouraging the Welsh Government to promote social enterprise and responsibility, Janet said: “Community enterprise groups taking on social responsibility allows for savings by local government, greater community spirit and more youth engagement which benefits the whole area.”