Speaking out: why the voluntary sector needs to hold on to its campaign roots

megaphoneResponding to Mike Aiken’s report on campaigning and voluntary services, and with the General Election looming, Gavin Barker explores what we might actually do to counter our “hollowed out democracy hijacked by a corporate elite”. Linking the muzzling of dissent to the general weakening of democracy, Gavin argues that the election provides the opportunity to Continue reading

Charities told to keep quiet or lose government contracts

gaggingPRESS RELEASE: New research reveals that charities and other voluntary groups are often absent from campaigns to tackle the root causes of poverty. A report released today shows that voluntary groups, especially those under contract to government, face threats to remain silent about their experiences and many are fearful to speak out in case they … Continue reading

Campaigning in the spotlight

Dodo-nothing-go-forward-pic-monkey2 voluntary groups delivering services still campaign for the interests of their service users and communities? This is the question examined by the latest in our series of reports on the Future of Voluntary Services. “Saying Less and Doing More” by Mike Aiken reaches troubling conclusions. Though small informal groups and activists are still very much in evidence, local … Continue reading

Struggling to Survive… Independently – 5 stories from the frontline

do-nothing-go-forward-pic-monkey2Latest production from our Inquiry into the Future of Voluntary Services….five stories from locally-based Voluntary Services Groups struggling to survive in the environment of cuts to funding and moves to the use of contracting approaches by public bodies. They illustrate the difficulties and dilemmas experienced, and some of the responses being adopted, by groups operating within … Continue reading

One size does not fit all

imagesP2OJJNRCLeeds GATE was set up ten years ago to improve the quality of life for Gypsies and Travellers in Leeds, and West Yorkshire.  To achieve this it has set objectives focused on homes, health, education, employment, citizenship and social inclusion.  The organisation is structured as a charitable company limited by guarantee with the governing documents … Continue reading

Voluntary services – flexing their muscles

wheels4wellbeingWheels for Wellbeing, established in 2007 is a disabled-led organisation aiming to ensure that disabled people can cycle where they want, when they want. It is based in Southwark, Lewisham and Croydon and mainly serves south London though its provision is open to all in the capital and offers a cross-London network for coordination and … Continue reading

Voluntary services – fingers crossed for survival

children matters“Children Matter”, set up 14 years ago, aims to support children by increasing community activity, building networks, improving lifestyles and reducing isolation and poverty. Using a model designed for a rural area, it undertakes outreach work with vulnerable families, providing support in their own homes and communities. Since setting up it has also offered a … Continue reading

Voluntary action – part of the everyday fabric of life

water adventureWater Adventure Centre (WAC) is a vibrant youth project located next to the Ashton Canal in Tameside. It works within the Tameside and Manchester local authorities and organises canoeing groups, festivals and events over the wider Greater Manchester area. Though its sessions are available for booking by groups of all ages, its main focus is … Continue reading

Commissioning & consortia – an advantage or a threat?

rivers edge

Rivers Edge Community Project (RECP) defines its overall mission as ‘to promote a vibrant, self-sustaining community in the Rivers Edge estate and surrounding area’ and its core values as:
- working ‘with’ members of the community and not ‘for’ them.
– developing activities and resources that are locally owned and run’.
– helping those involved … Continue reading

Do charities campaign?

kvvlogo_2What happens when charities and voluntary groups are asked by Government to punish unemployed people and take away legal entitlements?  In April 2014, the “Help to Work” programme was launched by Government. It consists of no help and no work. Instead, it continued previous policies that withhold unemployment benefits, unless those entitled to such benefits … Continue reading