Neutrality is no longer an option

42nd Street

Vera Martins, Director of Manchester-based young people’s support agency 42nd Street, has announced in her organisation’s 2011 annual report that she believes ‘if there is to be genuine positive change where we don’t simply buy into the existing rhetoric, organisations need to raise their heads above the parapet – neutrality is no longer an option.’… Continue reading

We don’t need no thought control

Photo of Bernard DaviesAs analysis of the riots replaces knee-jerk condemnation of young people, Bernard Davies reflects on NCIA’s research about voluntary sector youth work.

Four case studies show how local organisations are striving to continue community-based youth work despite pressure to deliver the latest policy initiative or be subservient to contractors.

The case studies show how government … Continue reading

Mad world, my masters: CVS says no to transforming local infrastructure

Adur Voluntary Action has opted out of bids for the transforming local infrastructure fund. Adrian Barritt explains the practical and philosophical concerns that led to the decision

What is infrastructure anyway?

To me, infrastructure used to mean something military, or the foundations of a building – until I studied social science. Then I learned that … Continue reading

Riots and reality

Thumbnail image of flamesFollowing the riots in the UK this week, many people in the voluntary and community sector are asking where we go from here. If you feel the need of thoughtful questions, messages of solidarity and some analysis of how we are thinking and talking about the riots, see the discussion ‘Wasn’t it inevitable’ on the … Continue reading

Interviewing the real ‘big society’

Photo of Sarah LambSarah Lamb is a trustee of Adur Voluntary Action. She was one of the people who contributed to qualitative research in 2009 on The local state and voluntary action in West Sussex which showed the damage commissioning does. NCIA caught up with her to find out how things have been going over the last 18 … Continue reading

Funeral procession for the death of our public services

Manchester group The Art Corner are organising a funeral procession for the loss of our public services, to take place on the day of the royal wedding (29th April). They will have five coffins decorated with wreaths spelling out NHS, Education, Immigration, The Arts and Welfare. Participants will dress in black and march solemnly down … Continue reading

Challenging Times – lobbying local politicians at a time of cuts

Sean Creighton lists the questions to ask local politicians on their apparent interest in community action, and highlights the gap between rhetoric and practice.

“A key element in the Party political battle leading up to May’s local and national elections was over developing a new role for community and voluntary organisations in running services and … Continue reading

Do or die – how to survive cuts and recession

Ideas from some local voluntary groups to balance certainty with uncertainty so you might survive the impact of external economic and political factors and your ability to respond to community needs.

What’s most important to do?

  • as far as practical, plan for the different possible scenarios and their consequences
  • within a clear view of what
Continue reading

Democracy at Work – A True Story

Little Fish is a social justice organisation that supports vulnerable clients with acute needs while also campaigning on equality issues nationally. Earlier this year, Little Fish made a charity of the year-type arrangement with a commercial organisation, let’s call them Loan Sharks Ltd. Little Fish’s management were pleased to announce the sponsorship of Loan Sharks … Continue reading

Am I a waste of money?

A personal view from Charlotte Pell

Look into your brains and tell me if I am a waste of money.

The money that pays me comes from a national quango called ‘Capacity Builders’. But this isn’t one of those bad quangoes everyone talks about, this one doesn’t take money off you, it gives its money … Continue reading