Cultivating voluntary action in deprived neighbourhoods: a fourth sector approach

Document type
Williams, Colin C.
Date of publication
1 September 2003
Voluntary Action: the journal of the Institute for Volunteering Research. Vol. 5; Number 3
Social welfare
Material type

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This article aims to evaluate critically the policy approach that seeks to cultivate voluntary action in deprived neighbourhoods by pursuing the third sector route of developing voluntary groups. Drawing upon evidence from recent UK government surveys of volunteering, it shows that this third sector approach of fostering formal volunteering (helping via groups) only develops one half of the voluntary sector, as well as promoting a culture of engagement relatively unfamiliar to people in deprived neighbourhoods. The argument, therefore, is that this third sector route needs to be complemented with a fourth sector approach that seeks further to develop informal volunteering (helping on a one-to-one basis), which is more reflective of the existing participatory culture in deprived areas. The article concludes by outlining some possible policy initiatives that can be used to implement this fourth sector approach.

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