Caring Activism: A 21st Century Concept of Care – a new book for 2016
Written By Peter Limbrick. Edited by Hilton Davis.
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This book is a proposal for citizens to join together to support vulnerable children, teenagers, adults and elderly people.
From the back cover: Think of rough sleepers in Europe’s capitals, of teenagers leaving care homes without aftercare, of elderly people struggling alone without family or friends. Think of people displaced by conflict and natural disasters.
How many of these people have autism or cerebral palsy, are blind or deaf, suffer from serious mental or physical illness? Nobody knows. But being ill or disabled brings added risk in these challenging situations and can mean being excluded when some help arrives.
Many of these vulnerable people live beyond the reach of public services and must cope as best they can on their own. This book suggests every citizen has the choice of turning away from their plight or taking action.
Peter Limbrick’s concept of Caring Activism harnesses the commitment and energy typical of activists in other spheres of human concern. Caring activists create power with others rather than working alone.
“I wholeheartedly recommend this humane book, which is about releasing our power as individuals in communities to help each other as a complement to and enhancement of professional services.The messages are refreshingly respectful and highly relevant to our modern society, where governments are prepared to ignore the needy and futile violence continues to devastate whole societies and drives mass migration.” Hilton Davis, Emeritus Professor of Child Health Psychology at King’s College London
Foreword by Professor Hilton Davis
This is an important book, because it confronts major problems in our modern world. It is concerned with the plight of the many vulnerable people who are not well supported, because of poorly run services (e.g. hospitals and care homes), drastic cuts to services in times of austerity, or displacement of populations through conflict or natural disaster.
The book portrays these current and crippling problems clearly and succinctly and explains the need for a different approach to helping. Although these issues may seem insurmountable, Peter Limbrick makes a strong case, based upon a notion of common decency, for how they may be addressed. The overall aim of the book is to offer a respectful model that has enormous potential as a holistic vehicle for supporting people who are in need, yet are unlikely to receive the help they require from current services.
The model, which is given the title of Caring Activism, is a new extension of Peter’s previous work. It draws upon the vast range of his experience directing voluntary projects such as One-to-One and One Hundred Hours. It is a development of his concept of the Team Around the Child, which he evolved originally and has spent many years disseminating and supporting around the world. This body of work has had important benefits both directly and indirectly on services for children and adults with disabilities. Very few people in the area of childhood illness and disability have not been touched somehow by his work.
The values and principles underlying Caring Activism are outlined simply and then related to ways in which all people might take up the ideas and put them into practice. From his vast experience of helping systems, Peter explores questions such as: who might become Caring Activists; what characteristics they might need; what problems they might face and the processes involved. He addresses fundamental aspects of helping, including the relationships between those involved and the skills needed to be effective. He endorses partnership as the essence of these relationships and builds the model on the assumption that all involved (including the vulnerable) work in groups with equal power and shared authority. He explores the crucial processes of negotiation to support such relationships and provides structure in terms of teams (to support an individual) and forums (to support teams).
The credibility and utility of Peter’s approach is enhanced by him bringing together a diverse set of existing ideas and methods from his broad knowledge of the existing literature. To illustrate the implications of his approach, he has also elaborated detailed examples of how Caring Activism might work in practice if it were to become a reality.
I wholeheartedly recommend this humane book, which is about releasing our power as individuals in communities to help each other as a complement to and enhancement of professional services. The messages are refreshingly respectful and highly relevant to our modern society, where governments are prepared to ignore the needy and futile violence continues to devastate whole societies and drives mass migration.
Hilton Davis is Emeritus Professor of Child Health Psychology at King’s College London. Before retiring he was head of the Centre for Parent and Child Support at Guy’s Hospital in London. The primary aims of his work were to develop an explicit and simple model of helping in order to enhance the effectiveness of all professions and volunteers involved in supporting children and families. He now lives in Lyme Regis with his wife and spends his time sailing dinghies and rowing Cornish Pilot Gigs.