By Ruth Limkin
Shameless plug time. I’m a contributing author for a book which is coming out shortly, and I think everyone should buy a copy (or two).
My chapter looks at community development by the church and charity sector, and was an absolute honour to write. So often, the immense contribution by the not-for-profit and volunteer fuelled sectors get overlooked. I know so many wonderful people who give selflessly to help those who are disadvantaged, and they’re making a difference in small ways and large.
Here’s a sneak peek, with a very short extract from the chapter I wrote….
We the people
Who will care for and strengthen the nation’s families? Are there ways in which communities can assist individuals and strengthen families, and do so in a more integrated, less bureaucratic manner than at present?
“When government accepts responsibility for people, then people no longer take responsibility for themselves.” – George Pataki, former Governor of New York, 1995-2006
Something remarkable happened in Brisbane in the summer of 2011. People remembered what it meant to live as a part of community. As floodwaters rose, inundating more than 20,000 premises, so rose community spirit. When the waters receded, tens of thousands of volunteers descended upon affected suburbs to clean, organize and remind victims that they were not alone. Councils mobilized quickly yet lacked the resources to assist every individual property comprehensively. In the end, it was the kindness of strangers that helped to clean a city.
As repair and restoration of individual properties lay far outside the scope of government responsibility, the council call centre became a conduit rather than a destination, connecting those in need with volunteers ready to help. This may have simply been a hastily cobbled together arrangement, necessitated by the sheer scale of the event and the response it required. It may also have been a glimpse, however, of an effective model for future community development, through the mode of community engagement.
From Chapter 7, Churches, Charities and Community Development, Right Social Justice: Better Ways to Help the Poor: Connor Court, 2012.
‘Right Social Justice: Better Ways to Help the Poor’ covers many topics and will certainly make you think. You may agree with some of it, part of it, or even none of it (apart from chapter 7 of course). The Brisbane launch is Thursday 19th April 2012 at 7pm at the Community Centre, Kedron Wavell Service Club, 375 Hamilton Road, Chermside South. You’re welcome to attend – rsvp to email@example.com, or (03) 9005 9167.
If you can’t make this event, you can pre-order the book now.
End of shameless plug. Thanks for reading!