Increasing the voices of the most vulnerable in Campaigning
In the current climate of economic downturn and spending cuts, the voice of the most vulnerable in society is continually being ignored by policy makers. It seems that the government are not listening to organisations such as Shelter, which is currently campaigning against the huge and detrimental changes that will affect thousands of social tenants and homeowners. However, I think gradually Shelter is making in-roads and we are campaigning hard at local, regional and national levels, and providing alternatives to what the government is proposing (in Housing Benefits and Legal Aid cuts for example).
It can, however, be difficult for smaller organisations, some may be volunteer-led, and perhaps trying to advocate for disabled people, Older people, BME and Refugee/Asylum seekers, etc, to get their campaigning voice heard in the socio-political environment in which the most articulate and intelligent get their voice heard.
I think it is really important that these marginalised groups be engaged better on the big issues of the day so that they can have a stronger voice for change for their communities. The use of social media and other new innovative ways, are increasing amongst these communities. The likes of Shelter are really working hard to engage better with these groups to help advance our campaigns.
Our service users are some of the most vulnerable in society, representing a diverse range of excluded groups. They are the ones that will suffer most from these government cuts. Somehow, we need to get the 'powers that be' to allow them a voice in the 'Big Society' and listen to what they have to say.