Newspapers have reported that the UK government is to publish a ‘Big Society’ bill, supposedly giving citizens more choice and control. In practice, this may involve offloading further responsibilities on to individuals, families and communities, forcing them to put in extra time and money or go without much-needed services.
Disabled people in Britain are facing increasing hostility, a survey revealed in May 2011. The poll was carried out by ComRes for the charity Scope. 56 per cent of the disabled people surveyed said they had experienced hostility, aggression or violence from a stranger because of their condition or impairment, and 58 per cent thought others did not believe that they were disabled. 37 per cent said people’s attitudes towards them have got worse over the past year, while just 15 per cent felt that attitudes had improved.
Helping others with their burdens is not a matter of prescriptive advice based on dogma or prejudice, or trying to take charge of others’ lives, says Savi Hensman, drawing deeply on Christian scriptural wisdom. Instead it involves being willing to listen, learn and engage.