Julia Neuberger Champions Volunteering
Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 28th January, 2010
The Liberal Democrat peer, Rabbi Julia Neuberger, was the guest speaker at Islington LibDems’ pizza and politics last night. The original idea had been that she would be interviewed by the Leader of Islington Council, Terry Stacy, but he was bedridden with flu. In the discussion, Baroness Neuberger was asked how she got on as an advisor to the Labour government a while back, when Gordon Brown was trying to assemble a government of all the talents, or GOATs (as opposed to the sheep that make up most of his Cabinet). She said that her personal relationship with the Prime Minister was good, having worked with him professionally on various issues when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, and her experience as an advisor was happier than that of her fellow LibDem peer Anthony Lester, QC. Perhaps, she surmised, this was largely because there was much greater consensus on the topic of her consultancy: volunteering. She is a strong advocate of the value of volunteering, not last within the National Health Service, and she believes that it will inevitably take on a more important role as our population ages, meaning more frail elderly in need of personal care, but also more fit older people with time on their hands. She also underlined the success of one project she had been involved in, which was to encourage government departments to allow their civil servants to volunteer in working time. This had greatly improved their job satisfaction and performance, she said.