We are emerging into a third era of social policy, one defined by relationships, trust and rigour. But what does that mean in practice? In Ireland, all three eras are charted, a story of potential realised, and potential still to be tapped.
A tent, a big tent, in a hospital foyer. A thousand people a week are drawn in. The space, and not much else, gets them to reflect, and to connect with each other. For short periods at least, it produces altruism and mutual aid, a preparedness to help, and be helped.
Friends and purpose. That is all that any of us need according to social reformer Maff Potts, founder of the Association of Camerados. How to achieve that? The learning takes us from a garage in the back streets of Sheffiled to a teepee in Blackpool hospital.
What do you need? This was the question social entrepreneur and clinical psychologist Charlie Howard posed to a young person on the margins of society. His response? A problem solving booth, right here, right now.
What is fixing, and what is connecting? Under what circumstances is one more effective than the other? In Oxfordshire a collective of health, housing, justice and social care agencies came together to prevent homlessness. Their learning shines light on these questions…
How many emails did you send today? Did you sign any of them off with a kind word to hide your anger? In Oxfordshire, a group of workers and system leaders emerged from behind their screens to talk to each other, face to face, to solve shared problems.
How hard it is to find people who want to be foster parents, even when they are well paid. Safe Families for Children took a different tack. Find people in the community who want to help keep families together by being a friend, offering resources or taking children in for short breaks. We learn how to scale the idea across England, and the limits to civil society capacity.