The thought first came to me when The Big Issue was proudly celebrating their achievements at their 25th anniversary. They are justified to look back on all that they have attained in supporting homeless people into jobs and homes since 1991.
I worked with TBI before it launched for a couple of months so perhaps that’s why I noticed this one, as every charity celebrates their anniversary just like businesses do. And that’s where the problem lies.
A business is celebrating success in longevity, a charity should not. Most likely, the founder (backed by the Roddicks who launched the Body Shop) didn’t want TBI to be around in 2019 and yet there are 1450 Big Issue sellers around today. I’m looking at one out of the window right now. They earn themselves £5.5m a year, so while it as an excellent job creator and makes TBI one of the better organisations helping the homeless, it does not eradicate the problem.
It seems to me the more charities there are, including those with the luxury of government funding, the less those who govern us take responsibility to support the vulnerable.
What about thinking about charities as the short term fix for something the government is unable to currently provide?
If a need is discovered such as the heightened awareness of mental health issues in recent years being much more common than was previously thought, then things need to change and facilities need to be put in place. After all, everyone pays taxes so that the whole of society has their basic needs met as necessary and rather than being at the mercy of hit and miss services.
Take the example of the loneliness endured by our growing ageing population. The resources may take one year or maybe ten years in the making, but it needs to happen. Although frankly, we have known we were going to have an ageing population for some time so this should have been in place. In any case, if society needs something from us we need to deliver it in a consistent, compassionate way, you know like we actually care about people.
When you think about it, there’s almost a ready-made workforce and infrastructure in place within the charities. We need to do take responsibility and bring it in-house so the burden is taken away from the overworked CEOs and staff have support and guaranteed funding.
Virtually every charity is about improving our well-being anyway, whether it’s nursing people and their families through cancer, breaking away from domestic violence or training support dogs, it should all be under our National Health Service.
Apart from consistency in care and removing the immense pressure from charities, there are a number of other reasons the work of charities should be managed by those who are (supposedly) looking after us, such as money being saved through lack of duplication by removing 100s of separate infrastructures.
Plus there is less confusion when someone is looking for support as there’s only one website for anyone who needs support that will direct them to the right service.
I like to think all the cancer charities share information anyway so imagine how simple this will be when for example, all the brilliant brains working on eradicating breast cancer were all under the same organisation, sharing costs and ideas? People will just need to turn to one place for support, information and education.
While we’re at it, our pets that play such a part in our well-being should have the same service. NAHS: National Animal Health Service. Imagine how many more homes/places of work would have dogs who are so good for our well-being if they knew their taxes covered the welfare?