Today, I visited Jade and Jay, co-founders of Street Dreams to discuss their work in Wycombe’s deprived communities.
Too many people wrongly assume that Buckinghamshire is a utopia without social problems, but, as I have reported before, there is every reason to support good quality social action here. Jay and Jade explained how they help “disadvantaged, disengaged and disruptive young people to help them achieve a sustainable positive life”.
We discussed a wide range of issues from drug dealing and lack of parental support, to parental dependency on children, gang activity and imprisonment. The Street Dreams model to turn participants into volunteers and youth development workers promotes self esteem and programme sustainability, and I was delighted to find the team encourages entrepreneurship and sport.
We particularly discussed the operation of the third sector and I recommended the Centre for Social Justice report Breakthrough Britain: Third Sector and the Centre for Policy Studies paper A Step Change in UK Philanthropy. As the CSJ report says:
The war on poverty will only be won by liberating the third sector from the incessant pressure to do the government’s work in the government’s way. Innovative social entrepreneurs and grassroots projects need to be trusted and equipped to find new solutions to these intractable problems. It can be done.