WHILST we bask, bake and burn in the glorious sunshine and the flame of hope and optimism for England's precarious trajectory in what remains of the World Cup still flickers, let us take that collective optimism and invest it in our communities.

If football means anything beyond the abstract notion of 22 human beings kicking a ball and sweating, surely it is a worldwide metaphor for teamwork, collaboration and the value of the individual playing their part in a collective effort to reach a mutually agreed goal.

Albert Camus, the famous French Algerian philosopher, and Algeria’s North African Cup winning goalkeeper, is quoted as saying “all that I know most surely about morality and obligation, I owe to football”….. Now, that might be hard for some viewers of the modern game to reconcile, given the observed amount of time spent by players appearing to be actively trying to deceive match officials and, what is often described as the immoral amount of money paid to the modern top-flight professionals seeming out of pace and touch with the purity of the game to which Albert Camus was referring.

However, in their widest context, team games of whatever nature are a useful model to exemplify the best combination of collective effort and individual responsibility. Taking that analogy further and using it as a template to benefit society as a whole and more specifically our own individual contexts as either a members of a family ‘team’ or a work ‘team’ or school etc how can we best ‘play’ our part and contribute to reaching a collectively mutually beneficial goal?

Some of us may think that obeying the law and paying our taxes is sufficient input or involvement in the wider community. However, anyone deluded into believing that one can avoid the nastier, darker side of community existence must either be living on a remote island, or in a cave or wearing rose-coloured spectacles.

Over the past 20 years of Kandu’s involvement in working up and down the country in parts of this nation where most people literally fear to tread, with some of the most disparate groups ranging from street gangs in London, to sex workers in Bristol, national homelessness groups, children in care and communities from Salford to Salisbury, I can testify that the emergence of social media, video phones and the dark net have accelerated the growth and distribution of dangerous, damaging and corrosive thoughts, deeds, images and illicit substances that are seeping across ‘county lines' at an alarming rate.

Children as young as 13 and 14 are actively using and dealing drugs such as ketamine, MDMA and the like in our towns and villages across Wiltshire on a daily basis. We, as a community, must start to counteract this with care and education before it gets completely out of hand. Some are trying their best but are hamstrung by austerity, especially the likes of teachers, police, fire, medical and social services, carers, foster carers, town councils and the county council.

I have a great respect for those that work on the frontline of society, those often described as having a ‘vocation’ rather than merely a career. They seem morally compelled to shoulder the heaviest social burden whilst simultaneously getting short changed in regard to pay, as if somehow money would tarnish them and the knowledge of knowing they are doing good, should be a reward enough.

The list of such people and professions is long and we are indeed lucky, unlike so many globally, to live in a society where such a civilised infrastructure exists, whatever its shortcomings.

Kandu's County Lines strategy project, in partnership with other professionals and councillors, is currently being developed. It will encompass Wiltshire, Newcastle, Northumberland, London, Nottingham, Manchester and Cornwall.

For schools and other professionals to find out how it might be helpful, please contact us on 01249 444009 or donnalee@kandu-arts.com