People talk about a desire to break down the barriers they see springing up between them and their neighbours. But often, they don’t know how. For English civil society to flourish in our fast changing world, we must begin to answer that question.
Epsom is a powerful analogy for much of the country: economic forces are sucking it towards the city of London, but it’s striving to develop its own identity. How that struggle plays out – between England as a hinterland for a once imperial capital, and England as a country in its own right – could … Read more
We are now twelve months into our inquiry into the future of civil society in England, engaging over 1,500 people in deep discussion — what have we heard?
Civil society, like the society it serves, is ever changing. If we are to harness the transformative energy of young people and communities, structures and funding will need to change to keep pace. People are eager to work together for the common good, we just need the government and funders to loosen the chains and … Read more
One of the constant themes we’ve heard during the first year of the inquiry is the need to create places and spaces for people to come together, create and meet others. What’s going on across Europe and what can we learn?
Religion is quite a new idea. Prior to the eighteenth century, few people would have thought to label part of life as “religious”, separate from everything else. Of course, there were times when they attended places of worship, and aspects of life in which religious leaders were more involved than others. But what we now … Read more
Part of the purpose of this inquiry is to provide a space for conversation about difficult and controversial subjects which either ignite strong feelings, or get ignored through fear and embarrassment. This article is intended to stimulate an open and respectful conversation about some of these issues, and does not necessarily represent the views of … Read more
Shirebrook is the kind the of place where everyone greets you in the street and the brass band plays in the park on a Saturday, teenagers preen in the town square for want of other places to flirt, and the library is bustling with people taking advantage of free internet – perhaps because they … Read more
As we reel from shock to shock – bombings in Manchester, attacks in London, the horrific fire in Kensington – one thing has become clear. Civil society in its widest sense is central to how we respond. Immediately after the blue light services heroically dealing with horror come the volunteers – the churches, the community … Read more
In the public unfolding of grief in the last terrible few months a number of things stand out. The first is of course, the helpers.
‘Our people are our greatest asset,’ proclaims an empty management slogan repeated ad nauseam by executives across all sectors, as they downsize, modernise, streamline and restructure their way towards greater ‘efficiencies’ in which people become as replaceable machine parts. Nowhere is the contradiction more glaring than amongst civil society organisations. Those whose mission statements explicitly … Read more
Civil society is all of us. When we act not for profit nor because the law requires us to, but out of love or anger or creativity, or principle, we are civil society. Future of Civil Society Inquiry I’ve been working with Doteveryone since late 2015, but toward the end of last year I took up a … Read more
Civil society organisations – and so our inquiry – are increasingly having to answer some difficult questions.
No white, cisgender, middle class man just “lands” in a senior position in an organisation.
Should we be optimistic or pessimistic about the future role of civil society? I was recently invited to talk to the group responsible for the Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society on behalf of UnLtd and the social entrepreneurs with whom I work. Following some scene setting about what the group are looking to … Read more