Belonging together

Belonging together

FIND OUT what we’ve heard from people across England »HOW ARE YOU bridging divides and bringing people together? » SHARE YOUR STORY of what belonging means to you »

Civil society for fun

22nd August 2018

It is important that we manage to retain the balance between civil society in response to need, and civil society for fun: civil society is not only good for society, but also good for the people who take part.

A more welcoming Mansfield?

8th August 2018

Do all divides and tensions reflect deeper social issues which affect everyone – like education, housing, employment and safety? Maybe if we could make these things better, attitudes and integration would follow.

Mansfield as it (actually) is

30th July 2018

Only by telling a new story will Mansfield put the Brexit narrative to bed — but that story is yet unwritten

A Bedouin community

What we can all learn from the Bedouin (and Scots environmentalists)

30th July 2018

How do you tackle climate change in your backyard? How do you kickstart biodiversity in the deserts of Jordan? It turns out… it’s all about relationships.

The future of civil society is dependent on space

16th July 2018

We’re losing space; the spaces where we used to come together to talk, to dance, to debate, to play, to make love, to form new ideas about the world.

Chain by Liverpool docks

Marmite and millions

2nd July 2018

From being a Scouser to life after Brexit, what are young people in Liverpool’s hopes and fears?

Newcastle centre

Changing power and local decision making in Newcastle: part 1

13th June 2018

How can local communities have more control over the decisions currently made on their behalf? The first of three workshops.

Are fences our future? The Ulsterification of England… and what we can do

10th May 2018

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 & Ewell: a battle between collaborative community and competitive loneliness on London’s fringe

1st May 2018

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

Black Lives Matters protest and sculpture of person screaming

1 year on, what have we heard? Our work in progress reports

26th April 2018

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?

Building a community for activism

5th April 2018

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

Funding the Cooperative City – lessons from across Europe

Funding the Cooperative City – lessons from across Europe

22nd January 2018

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?

It’s secular ceremonies that pressurise me the most

26th September 2017

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

Does civil society unite us more than it divides us?

7th September 2017

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

On brass bands and Brexit; culture and cuts: the case of Shirebrook

15th August 2017

  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

Look for the helpers: how can we build a civil society that’s ready for the worst?

13th July 2017

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

Civil society and public grief, rituals, ceremony and silence

5th July 2017

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.

How managerialism is killing civil society organisations (and how to fight it)

20th June 2017

‘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

Fighting for a fairer society

5th June 2017

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

Julia Unwin, Picture by Adam Fradgley

Civil society futures: 3 dilemmas

18th May 2017

Civil society organisations – and so our inquiry – are increasingly having to answer some difficult questions.

“But wait, I’m woke!”: The trials of the white male manager

11th May 2017

No white, cisgender, middle class man just “lands” in a senior position in an organisation.

Small actions lead to large movements

5th May 2017

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



25th April 2018