Financial Times, Common Purpose and NTL launch UK campaign for active citizenship

Just Do Something: Turning the UK onto Active Citizenship

Today sees the launch of Just Do Something – a new, national campaign and website with the aim of encouraging more people to take an active lead in public life.

Supported by educational organisation, Common Purpose, NTL, the UK’s leading broadband services company, and the Financial Times, Just Do Something has created the UK’s first online database of public appointments and charity trusteeships. The website also boasts a unique self-assessment section that ensures users can clarify their own thoughts on personal qualities, skills and experience, and subsequently find the right opportunity.

Just Do Something launches with an impressive 14,000 board level opportunities available within organisations ranging from Oxfam and the Magistrate’s Association, to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health. And this is just the beginning – the database is growing every week. The website can be found at www.justdosomething.net and is also carried by the UK’s leading media groups including BBC, ntlworld.com, FT.com, The Voice, and is linked to some of the largest online communities such as clickwalla.com, yourable.com, gay.com and jewish.co.uk.

The need for Just Do Something is real. In a poll out today, over 50% of respondents admitted that they had considered taking part in public life, but simply did not know how. The poll, run on ntlworld, also revealed that more than two thirds believe “it’s who you know, not what you know”, as 67% voted that charity trusteeships and public appointments were most commonly filled via personal connections, not by independent application.

Public bodies and charities clearly need leaders – there are over 36,000 public appointments in the UK and more than 100,000 charities currently seeking trustees.

Julia Middleton, CEO of Common Purpose said: “There are two forces missing each other in the dark – leaders who want to do something and public bodies who need leaders. The result is both lost opportunities and wasted talent. Twelve years of Common Purpose shows us each day how much leaders want to do something to use their experience and knowledge for the public good. Their challenge is finding out what the options are, deciding where best to put their energies and avoiding falling in to the wrong role. Just Do Something will open up this world to a wider and more diverse range people - to leaders of all ages, backgrounds and sectors.”

Stephen Carter, Managing Director of NTL, said: “We’re delighted to support the development of Just Do Something. The website is all about empowering people, and this is something that NTL has always believed in. The Internet has revolutionised our world, influencing and creating opportunities within every aspect of our lives. Just Do Something is internet communication at its best; it will be a network of networks, enabling a diverse range of people to influence the agenda within the public and voluntary sectors.”

The original idea for Just Do Something came from the Financial Times, which has developed the project along with NTL and Common Purpose. James Harding, Media Editor of the Financial Times commented: "We talk to business leaders every day, and knew they had a desire to play a stronger role in public life. We thought the creation of an on-line database of opportunities in public life, which was both quick and simple to access, would be a big step towards encouraging that involvement. We will be using the communications platforms of the Financial Times and FT.com to stimulate debate amongst business leaders about the role they can play in public life, and are delighted that other leading media organisations, including NTL and the BBC are also involved. We hope many others will join to help drive people to find out more about these opportunities."

Rt. Hon Tessa Jowell MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, said: “I am pleased to be able to endorse the aims of Just Do Something and in particular the emphasis placed on citizens planning for their careers. All too often people find themselves wanting to get involved but are not sure how to go about it. The Just Do Something web site will become the first point of contact for many people who are willing to give their time, expertise and skills. I am delighted that my department and many others besides are among the 40 plus providers contributing to this very valuable initiative, made possible by Common Purpose, NTL and the FT. Continued support for our public bodies is essential if they are to thrive and reflect a modern Britain”.

Action:

If you would like to Just Do Something, visit wwww.justdosomething.net and register your interest today.

If you would like to post your opportunities on Just Do Something, or if you would like to host Just Do Something on your web site or intranet, please contact Nick Stannah via email at NickS@commonpurpose.org.uk.

Notes to Editors

Just Do Something has been developed by Common Purpose in association with the Financial Times and NTL.

Research conducted on ntlworld.com with 1,032 people, April 2002.

Common Purpose

Just Do Something is published by Common Purpose. Common Purpose is an independent organisation that connects a growing network of leaders with the information and inspiration they need to change the world. Common Purpose believes that for a democracy to be strong, it needs an active civil society. Common Purpose's vision is to improve the way society works by increasing the number of informed and engaged individuals who are actively involved in the future of the areas in which they live and work.

The Financial Times

  • The Financial Times, one of the world's leading business newspapers, is recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. Providing extensive news, comment and analysis, the newspaper is printed in 18 cities across the globe, has a daily circulation of over 500,000 and a readership of more than 1.6 million people worldwide.
  • FT.com, the newspaper's internet partner, combines agenda-setting editorial with relevant financial data and discussion groups, as well as a broad range of business tools including the largest search function on the internet. FT.com is the world's most popular audited business website, with 2.7 million unique users and over 55 million monthly page views

NTL

  • Just Do Something has been made possible thanks to the support of NTL, the UK’s leading broadband services company, which has committed time, know-how and people to the project.
  • NTL offers a wide range of communications services to homes and business customers throughout the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, France, Germany and Sweden. Over 20 million homes are located within the NTL's group franchise areas, covering major European cities including London, Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich, Stockholm, Geneva, Dublin, Manchester and Glasgow. NTL and its affiliates collectively serve over 8.5 million residential cable telephony and Internet customers.
  • In the UK, over 11 million homes are located within NTL's fibre-optic broadband network, which covers nearly 50% of the UK including, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford, Cambridge, Cardiff, Glasgow and Belfast. NTL Home now serves around 3 million residential customers.
Contacts

Common Purpose: Nick Stannah, 020 7608 8148

NTL: Justine Parrish, 0207 909 2114

The Financial Times: Joanna Manning-Cooper, 020 7873 4447