DUNCAN BARKES The Big Society– it could just be the way ahead

It has taken me a while to get my head around the concept of The Big Society, David Cameron’s oft-repeated solution for making us take greater responsibility for our community.

But the weekend before last I saw The Big Society in action.

Mrs B and I have a friend called Paul. He runs the PDW Driving School and the poor bloke had the job of getting Mrs B through her test. He also teaches a weekly jive class.

Paul gives a lot of time to charity work. One of his fundraising events was for the Martin Finch Memorial Fund (in aid of Meningitis charities).

This entailed Paul and his team taking 18 learner drivers from Bognor Regis to Lands End in a sponsored trip that raised more than £4,000.

We need more people like Paul on the planet. The weekend before last he hosted a dance party at the Newtown Sports and Social Club in Bognor Regis to raise funds for Palatine Primary School, a school for children with a wide range of special educational needs in Worthing.

The event was extremely well attended and money was raised through ticket sales, a raffle and sales of a lucky programme.

Apart from the fact this was a great example of people coming together for the greater good, local businesses were quick to donate raffle prizes.

Hats off to the following local companies who supplied the prizes: Starline Taxis, Vicky Knight Hairdressing, Arena Gym, The Elmer Tandoori, The Ship Inn Aldwick, Nyetimber’s Inglenook Restaurant, Sen in Bognor Regis, The Crown in Chichester, Mamma Mia and the Hilton Hotel.

I make no apology for listing these businesses.

They have supported a local man raising money for a great cause. In these tough times it is heart-warming that businesses are generous to good causes. We should show our appreciation by rewarding them with our custom at every opportunity.

Many might argue that the government should be responsible for funding facilities like Palantine Primary School, but we have to accept that there is never enough money to go around and that we all have it in us to do our bit.

Paul and those like him are an inspiration, and you know something?

Despite my initial cynicism about The Big Society I think Dave and the government could actually be on to something.