Tuesday, 2 June 2015
Before I joined the team of volunteers at the British Schools' Museum, I was unaware of this week of celebration. The Chairman of the Britosh Schools' Trust reminded us that volunteers contribute billions of £s to the national economy..
The British Schools' Museum was one of only two museums to be awarded the Queens' Award in 2012.
Whether driven by a neighbourly passion to help others or to achieve a personal “high” of satisfaction, it is the finest example of real democracy in action – people voting with their feet not in response to the relatively long-delivery election promises of politicians, but to identify and tackle immediately an issue on their doorstep or in society at large. Of the 164,000 registered charities that weave a web of support across our country, an amazing 90% have no paid staff. And it is estimated that there are another 150,000 non-registered organisations also run entirely by volunteers. They are all succored and sustained by an army of people who get a real kick out of donating personal time and effort to help others.
The Hitchin British School (founded 1810) was an early example of how education provides social mobility. A child born in the slum yards beside the parish church could move out of dire poverty and into a relatively comfortable existence.