I don’t often get the chance to watch much telly. But, surfing through the channels in a hotel at Trafalgar Square in London, I came across the Secret Millionaire. 
Some guy called Charles Allen, a millionaire, goes undercover and pretends to three charities in Leeds that he is writing a book on something relevant to their activity. Eventually he admits who he is and gives each of them £35,000 so they can continue their work. He recognises that they don’t deal in big money, but in single pounds.
 
What was interesting was his observation at the end that the charity workers he had met were so committed to helping others, but lacked basic resources. His comment was that the Big Society is OK, but “you can’t run it on nothing”.
 
In other words, how can you create the big society if you want volunteers to serve the vulnerable in their local community whilst at the same time cutting all the funding to enable those charities and local bodies to run. You need some paid people to coordinate, seek funding, run the show, recruit, resource and train the volunteers. No funding, no Big Society.
 
It’s not rocket science. but it is the bizarre reality that is faced by huge numbers of charities in all our cities and beyond.