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Giving a hand to young people

European visitors to Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries were surprised by the number of private associations organized by Brits to help others and to advance reforms. There was nothing like it in France because, as de Tocqueville observed, the government wouldn't allow it.

The Chartists and the Suffragettes were among the biggest private associations, with millions of members, and they eventually forced Parliament to expand suffrage. The Foundling Hospital, whose famous artists helped abandoned babies, continues to nurture children today, as do many other charities - see chef Jaime Oliver's restaurant below.

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John Garner is one of many young musicians who has received a scholarship from the Musicians Benevolent Fund. Image: John Garner

Olivia Rickman tells us that the Foundling Museum and the Musicians Fund have teamed up to host lunchtime concerts on September 3rd and October 1st, 1 - 2 pm. They are part of the Young Performers Concert Series 2009.

The Museum is also hosting a series of playful educational activities - costumes, trails, codes - in August and September with free admission for children and up to two accompanying adults.

Roger Scruton wrote about the people behind these private associations -

Their attitude to officialdom reflected their conviction that, if something needs
doing, then the person to do it is you. - England.

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