In the speech, given on 9th January, May set out her vision for a shared society, and spoke at length on mental wellbeing:
“I want to ensure more people get the support they need, when they need it, in their communities. So we will make up to £15 million of extra funding available for community clinics, crisis cafes, and alternative places of safety to support a wider range of preventative services in the community, and ensure that charities, churches and community organisations can access funding to run them too.”
The Prime Minister also pledged support for the voluntary sector, with a key part of her shared society vision being the creation of “an environment in which our charities and social enterprises can thrive,” which, she added, also meant “recognising, supporting and championing those who lead the way in shaping a civil society that can bring the talents of so many in our voluntary sector to bear on some of the great social challenges that we face together.”
John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, issued this response to the PM’s speech:
“At this critical moment in our country’s history, charities have a crucial role to play in developing a better society at home and securing Britain’s new place on the global stage.
“Mrs May rightly recognises the need for our charities and social enterprises to thrive. Her Shared Society must be more than a shift in the way Government makes policy; it must mean working in tandem with Britain’s charities at home and abroad to share and strengthen our values, unite our communities and give people a voice.”
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, also commented on the speech, saying:
“Charities and volunteering are at the heart of our shared society. The prime minister rightly credited the campaigning role of charities in shining a light on the shortfalls in mental health provision, and this is also an excellent example of an area where charities and volunteering are a necessary part of the solution. With that in mind, I was heartened to hear her support for the National Citizen Service, and the volunteering initiatives #iwill and the Points of Light Awards. Volunteering is the clearest expression of the will of millions of people to take an active role in society, and we should take every opportunity to reinforce its value.”