If ever there was a time for bold, brave focussed leadership in the voluntary and community sector, at both national and local level, surely it is now? And this must particularly be case in respect of the local community and small charity sector, which are the backbone of strong communities and the catalyst for local social action.
Localism, devolution and decentralisation are currently key buzz words right across Whitehall and town halls throughout the country. Now whilst it is very important that these words evolve into effective policy (and do so for places beyond the major cities and city regions), it is, in my view, equally important that the move upwards to local government does not stop at the town or county hall but extends even further, up to communities and neighbourhoods.
It is easy to be cynical about the Northern Powerhouse. Critics have already labelled it as tokenism, or an afterthought from the Conservative Party to appease concerns that it does not think beyond its traditional strongholds. But it is more than that. Furthermore, criticising the vision before it has even got off the ground is actually counter-productive in the long run.
Every time you buy British goods that are made with skilled labour, you're not only creating jobs for British workers, you are also keeping skills alive in this country. Often these skills have been handed down through the generations. It's about culture, tradition, heritage and history as much as it is about the thing you buy.
Last week's No vote in the Scottish referendum marks the start of a new discussion, one devoted to devolution that could lead to the transform of the whole of the UK. Whatever results from the negotiations around Scottish Devo-max or the immediate fallout for the UK's other regions, what is perhaps more significant is that a generation of voters has recognised a Whitehall and Westminster centred model is not set in stone...
These are going to be critical months for the voluntary and community sector (VCS) and charities more generally - and this is especially the case for the national sector bodies. It will also be a critical period for all of us and there needs to be an open debate about the future of society which these bodies can lead.
I believe it is vital that the tasks of setting rates and reliefs, and deciding how to spend them are devolved to local and regional levels of government. This would give people a democratic say in which types of businesses they want to encourage and how the receipts are spent, allowing them to witness the resultant effect in their own, and neighbouring, areas.
That people are disenchanted with politics is hardly an original observation. Turnout at elections is declining, politicians are almost universally derided, distrusted and disliked. Perhaps it was ever thus, but modern voters seem less interested and less willing to listen to what politicians say than ever before.
Last month, Inside Housing reported that only 101 of the 597 Traveller pitches allocated government funding in England since 2012 have managed to secure planning permission. Without permission, it is unlikely any of the remainder will go ahead; another broken promise in the ongoing struggle for adequate Traveller accommodation in the UK.