About Hilary Cottam, Kate Raworth writes, “her work is all about how the welfare state can become a partner state that empowers people by putting human relationships (and local commons) at the heart of their services. She is a designer focused on social change, and creates a series of locally based initiatives that are effectively commons organisations, which have evident success in tackling youth unemployment, loneliness, health issues.”

Radical Help is about new ways of organising living and growing that have been developed with communities across Britain.

Hilary Cottam. photo by Charlie Hopkinson ©

The British welfare state transformed our lives. The model was emulated globally, setting the template for the ways we think about social change across the world. But this once brilliant innovation can no longer help us face the challenges of today.

Radical Help argues that our 20th century system is beyond reform and suggests a new model for this century: ways of supporting the young and the old, those who are unwell and those who seek good work At the heart of this new way of working is human connection. When people feel supported by strong human relationships change happens. And when we design new systems that make this sort of collaboration feel simple and easy people want to join in.

The vision is big but Radical Help is a practical book. It shows how we can make change and how we can make a transition now towards a new system that can take care of everyone.

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Book image: Virago/Little Brown

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