Some reasons to be cheerful

'The problem with society today is that people just don't care as much as they used to', is something we hear a lot.

In recent years we have heard shiny-suited politicians bang on relentlessly about Broken Britain, and hands up who remembers the Big Society, a political con trick designed to shame us into doing the work of public servants for free?

The narrative lots of people peddle is that nowadays we inhabit a world where the vast majority of folk care only for themselves and whether or not their dinner is attractive enough to post on Instagram.

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Yes, we live in angry, intolerant times, but I would argue all is not lost, that we aren’t living in a world that resembles the bleak, unfriendly lawlessness of Gotham City.

On Friday night, I had the pleasure of sharing a room with scores of incredible people who had been brought together in the name of charity and community and I can honestly say that it was humbling.

I met a lady who represents a group of ordinary residents who set up a group to help support asylum seekers and refugees.

Immigration is the classic political football, but listening to this community champion talk, it was reassuring to be reminded that there are those who can see beyond the scare stories. Some of the asylum seekers helped by this group have escaped the unspeakable conditions in Syria and are now destitute because they are both unable to work or claim benefits while their cases are being considered.

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Moved by their stories of hardship, local people have dug deep into their own pockets to provide food and clothing and ask for nothing in return.

This was moving stuff but it certainly wasn’t an isolated story.

During the course of the evening, I met countless others from all walks of life who give up large chunks of their own time to help people who are often strangers.

I accept these exceptional people are probably in the minority, but they do exist, and as long as they do there are plenty of reasons for us to be hopeful for the future.