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Developing civil society

Building the capacity of charities and social businesses to grow, flourish, and provide fair and responsive services is becoming increasingly important. With public sector organisations increasingly asked to collaborate with civil society organisations in the design and delivery services, there is an increased need to ensure there is a diversity of opinion available from grassroots organisations. Similarly, with reductions in public sector spending and attendant contractions in services, charities and social businesses will increasingly be called upon to deliver services to the most marginalised.

At the same time there is increased pressure on local authorities and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) to recognise the potential for social businesses to contribute to the regeneration of local areas through thorough and robust social enterprise strategies. As socially minded businesses, charities and social enterprises are more likely to invest their profits back into the communities they serve, creating jobs and extending their reach to include more beneficiaries. As such, organisations that serve deprived and marginalised areas are even more valuable their potential to promote prosperity.

Our work in this area centres around providing responsive, targeted, and ongoing developmental support to marginalised and so-called ‘hard to reach’ organisations.

The problems we’re solving

  • identifying the particular skills needed to deliver effective infrastructure support to smaller organisations providing services to marginalised groups
  • exploring the support needs charities and social businesses serving marginalised groups need to reposition themselves in light of changes to the funding and commissioning environment, particularly in relation to funding and business models
  • delivering responsive, progressive, and community-based infrastructure support within marginalised areas


What we’re doing
Working with NCVO we have developed a programme to help infrastructure organisations deliver more effective support to BME charities and social businesses. The programme – called Beyond Survival – has trained over 20 support providers to improve their infrastructure provision (with over 100 BME frontline organisations receiving better support as a result). As a result of the project, we have developed a quality kitemark for support providers. The kitemark guarantees a high standard of support provision by ensuring providers are well-acquainted with important theoretical knowledge (such as the history of the sector) and practical expertise (such as the capacity to work collaboratively with clients to build internal expertise).

See for yourself

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