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Reconstructing Community

Episode 3 of 3

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 16 December 2013

Giles Fraser has left a glittering job as Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral and is now working as the priest of a run-down parish in Elephant and Castle. This has set him thinking about the nature of community, which he investigates in this very personal series.

In this final programme he asks what lies at the heart of community. Is it possible to intervene to make communities stronger?

Giles visits the RSA project in Bristol, Social Mirror. Its aim is to combat a growing plague of loneliness, especially amongst older people. Gaia Marcus, who runs the project, believes that a lack of social connectedness can impact heavily on mental health, well-being and life prospects. Social Mirror offers 'social prescriptions' to people visiting their doctors' surgery - including bingo, walking, tai chi, gardening and drama - forging links between individuals and building social networks.

Social geographer Jane Wills explains the role of social organising in strengthening communities. An idea born in America and made famous by Barack Obama, it is gaining currency here.

David Goodhart from the think tank Demos and Frank Cottrell Boyce, who scripted the opening ceremony of last year's Olympic Games, discuss the role of national identity.

And, in an increasingly secular age, Giles asks theologian John Milbank and priest and broadcaster Richard Coles whether there still a role for the church in building our communities.

Producer: Jane Greenwood.
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

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