Snow challenge

With Britain slipping and sliding in the snow, will people pull together to help each other out? Earlier this year we saw examples of local communities coming together to clear the pavements, check on neighbours and provide a helping hand. Snow is fun for many but for others it's a real pain or worse. In the big society we can all do our bit to beat the snow challenge - and bring people of all ages closer together. 26 November 2010

PS how many people walked on by as an elderly man lay in the snow for hours in the middle of Salisbury last week? 6 December 2010

Happiness is...

difficult to measure and means different things to different people. Having a decent basic income and a good quality of life is crucial. But it's also about having a sense of purpose, feeling connected and our relationships with other people. That's why United for All Ages seeks to bring older and younger people together and build better relationships in local communities through shared sites and shared caring. But often people will only get together if they also have shared interests - that might be through sport, music or a common cause such as tackling the snow. Clearing a pavement can create a real sense of fulfilment and dare I say it happiness but how will that be measured? 24 November 2010

Cuts or creativity?

As local authorities face reductions in spending of almost 30%, is there an alternative to big cuts in frontline services?

The answer must be yes but it will require vision and determination by local leaders to make it happen. One way forward is to look at all the resources in a local community. What is being spent in a neighbourhood? What facilities are there? What can local people contribute?

It makes sense to share these resources across all ages so that children, young people, families and older people are all better served. That's why United for All Ages is focusing on shared sites as one way forward - enabling different generations to use local facilities like children's centres and schools, older people's housing schemes and libraries.

The spending cuts provide an opportunity to do things differently and make the most of all that local communities can offer. But local leaders will have to start now to make it happen. 21 November 2010

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