Brown: Unsung heroes will boost ‘Britishness’

Gordon Brown has called for an ‘unsung heroes day’ as part of his push to promote Britishness.

The prime minister said he hoped every July 24 would become a day to “pay tribute to the people who represent the very best of Britain”.

Launching his book Britain’s Everyday Heroes, Mr Brown called for a day to honour those acting for good, where people could be inspired by others’ “countless acts of social commitment”.

He said: “This is my idea of Britain and Britishness today – not the individual on his or her own living in isolation sufficient unto himself but the individual with a sense of belonging that expands outwards as we grow from family to friends and neighbourhood; a sense of belonging that then ripples outwards again from work, school, church and community and eventually outwards to far beyond our home town and region to define our nation and country as a society.

“A Britain where people recognise that it is indeed the duties discharged by each of us that are the key to improving the well-being of all of us.

“What I have seen while writing this book reinforces my faith in the capacity of individuals working together to transform communities and to change lives.”

Speaking at the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, Mr Brown said the government would seek to recognise and celebrate a “growing spirit of service” in the country.

It will seek to support public services in local communities, including financial backing for small community-focused projects.

A new social investment bank will also be established, with the aim this will eventually be used to support charities.

And as the government continues to assess the fall out from the cash for honours scandal, Mr Brown said the honours system would be reformed to reward people that contribute to civic society.

The prime minister announced Awards for Social Technology to push the use of multimedia in communities. Later today he will also launch HorsesMouth, a web-mentoring initiative.

Mr Brown has already sought support from the business community. This morning he held a breakfast meeting with business leaders.

He said London’s top business people “agreed to utilise their talents and experience to help address key social challenges and strengthen leadership within the voluntary sector.”

Mr Brown has long pushed for a “Britishness Day” to consolidate and celebrate a British identity.

The new prime minister promised to push forward with these plans upon accepting office and today’s announcement marks his first attempt to outline his new British agenda.