Will Tanner and Lord O’Shaughnessy write in the New Statesman, calling for greater intervention to respond to the loneliness epidemic amongst younger generations.
“As we emerge from this crisis, we must take the time to reweave our social fabric, especially for younger generations. And the urgency of the question demands bold and radical answers. Is it not time, for example, to offer every young person the time and opportunity to do national civic service each year, as France, Italy and Austria now do? This need not be compulsory, if ministers rewarded young people for participation. In the US, for example, young people who contribute 1,700 hours of community service through AmeriCorps each year are rewarded by a $6,095 prize redeemable against college tuition fees.
Alongside this, ministers should democratise the civic realm for associations to meet, expand and run activities. In 2020, nearly one in 25 vacant high street shops had been vacant for three or more years and councils owned 100,000 empty garages – yet community groups and local clubs often struggle to find space. Legislation could make publicly owned sports pitches and green spaces available to civic groups during evenings and weekends and introduce a temporary permission for long-term vacant or unused assets to be converted for community use.”
You can read the full piece here.