Remember the days when maiden aunts stayed behind in the family home, to care for ageing parents, because that is what they were expected to do. When you knew your next door neighbours, and could be certain that if you needed to borrow sugar, milk, a fiver that they would loan it to you? Remember the days when disabled kids weren’t just supported in the family home by their parents, but by the entire extended family who cared for them, just as they would have cared for and loved able-bodied family members? No? Well, what about the provision of home-helps, paid for by the local council, to go into the homes of the elderly to help out with cleaning and shopping?
Still sounding a little too far fetched? Well I’m certain you’ll remember ‘care in the community’,Thatcher’s daring attempt to resurrect true community care and support, by placing individuals with mental health issues back into their local communities. I remember care in the community (or domiciled care as they chose to call it), and I think it might have been a good idea had it been properly implemented. After all, who wouldn’t want to be back in the bosom of a well-fed family, with a balanced home/work life, more than willing to accept a previously institutionalised relative back into their home? The fact that a number of those released back into the community, went on to attack members of those communities, and in some cases fatally, is unfortunate and probably wouldn’t have occurred had the policy been adequately overseen and funded. Remember Bingo? That family leisure activity you could most commonly indulge yourself in, whilst taking a Butlin’s holiday? Me neither, but I do recall what took the place of the bulk of charitable giving.
Now does anybody recall ‘Don’t Cap My Benefits’? It was a fairly comprehensive Panorama documentary, about Brent and the housing benefit cap. We got to see and fully appreciate the worth of moving unemployed, single parent families, and refugee families into much, much, cheaper housing outside of London. What a wonderful way to reduce the welfare housing bill, whilst at the same time ensuring that those with an entitlement mentality got the message. A wonderful programme, providing the icing to the main cake the BBC has had on offer for five seasons ‘Saints & Scroungers’.
Get a job! My kind of wonderful, like the ever increasing numbers of people sleeping rough on Brent and Harrow’s streets. People who are being referred to charities by Harrow’s street pastors (some of whom also help out at Harrow’s two foodbanks, twenty minutes drive away from Harrow Public School). When Christians help out in these ways you know the world will be a much safer place. For there’s no need to worry about the erosion of the NHS, when you’ve got churches full of people ready to pray over the sick and heal them, and as for the feeding of the five thousand well, so far one Christian charity (The Trussell Trust) has fed almost a million.
Ah! Here’s a picture of Jesus cheerfully bearing the burdens of another without charge and at no additional cost.