It seems that all over the country, community spirit is being smothered by bureaucracy.
How many local clubs and events are struggling to survive due to the amount of paperwork involved? Add to that the costs involved for many activities now and people are just not willing to put in the time and effort it takes.
Look at local football clubs. Coaches need to be qualified, there needs to be a minimum number of adults to supervise. Then there are the costs involved for insurance and pitch hire. It’s almost a full time job keeping track of such things so that the kids can play football.
Local events also have run afoul of bureaucracy with public liability insurance, entertainments licence, stewarding, deposit, risk assessments and first aid requirements.
For anyone thinking of organising an event or club, there are so many hoops to jump through nowadays that many give up before they start.
This has resulted in many communities drifting apart as there are no opportunities for local residents to get together in a social situation.
Obviously there needs to be some sort of safety net when activities are being planned. However, the current level of requirements has left a gap in local communities. Less socialising with friends and neighbours which results in more social isolation.
Even trying to organise something for local residents to come and have a coffee and a chat can result in charges for hall hire, requirements for hygiene certificate holders if using a kitchen etc.
This ever more regulated situation has resulted in an increase in loneliness throughout the country to the point where it has become a health issue. Surely there has to be a way to enable communities to interact and support each other more easily.
There is no shortage of volunteers, however they need to be able to volunteer. Not be asked to get qualified, have insurance and pay money for the privilege of trying to help their community.
As local authority budgets continue to be cut, more and more is being asked of local communities whilst at the same time their ability to help is being restricted. It’s time that the levels of bureaucracy were reduced to allow the levels of community involvement to increase.