Big Society? We invented it

By Robyn Rosen, November 11, 2010

The Government minister in charge of the Big Society initiative has praised the effect Mitzvah Day has on society.

Nick Hurd, the minister for civil society and MP for Northwood, Ruislip and Pinner, will join Rabbi Hillel Athias-Robles and other representatives from Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue, as well as from the local Hindu community, on November 21 to deliver toys and books to Jake's Place, the Children's Ward at nearby Northwick Park hospital. The project is among thousands to take place on the fifth annual day of social action.

Mr Hurd said: "I like to support Mitzvah Day. For me, the fun and value is in seeing different groups work together. In Northwood it is the buzz and energy of young people throwing themselves into doing something good for the community that lifts the spirits."

Other high-profile people to sign up to this year's activities include Vanessa Feltz and Maureen Lipman.

Mitzvah Day director, Laura Marks, said: "We were building the Big Society before the phrase was even invented."

Meanwhile, Richard Barnes, deputy mayor of London, also heaped praise on the day, urging Londoners to support it. "The commitment of the Jewish community to voluntary activities is well-known, and it is that active community spirit that we want to replicate across London," he said.

Last updated: 4:49pm, November 18 2010