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

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

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

Insiders and outsiders – fighting for change together and apart

tenants rightsConditions for private renters – now a bigger group than those renting ‘socially’ from the council or a housing association – have become so bad that a new wave of housing activist groups has begun to form. Since the deregulation of private renting in 1989, when rent control and long-term tenancies were done away with, … Continue reading

What’s happening in the workplace – next 2 Inquiry reports

do-nothing-go-forward-pic-monkey2Today we publish the next two reports from our Inquiry into the Future of Voluntary Services.

The impact of contracting and commissioning on volunteers and volunteering in Voluntary Services Groups by Colin Rochester charts the rise of the ‘workplace model’ and the formalisation of volunteer management that “threatens the untamed and often maverick expression of free will … Continue reading

Localism ‘rights’ – the right to very little at all

We the PeopleThe right to very little at all: NCIA submits evidence to House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee

The Localism Act 2011 offers communities a set of new ‘rights’. They may now challenge councils to run public services, bid for ‘assets of community value’, build local facilities and make statutory neighbourhood plans.  As … Continue reading