It's time to talk: Voluntary action, the state and welfare provision

Online event - Zoom
Monday 12 October 2020 (16:00-17:30)

Angela Ellis Paine

The Covid-19 crisis has involved profound and acute challenges for many voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises. According to the DCMS Committee in May 2020, ‘their contribution is needed now more than ever as the country responds to the challenge of Covid-19. Charity workers are some of the real heroes of the response to the pandemic, with many working with great courage on the frontline of the crisis’. Many organisations have stepped up quickly to reorganise services and meet intensifying needs of the most vulnerable but at the same time are struggling to find the resources to keep going. 

The government’s £750m package of support has offered a lifeline for parts of the sector, but there remain fears that the sector’s role may be severely diminished. It is ‘never more needed’, but also never more challenged. What, then is the future for voluntary action across social welfare as we seek to recover from the crisis? 

This session will discuss this issue, drawing from the findings of a two-year research study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) which compared debates on the role and contribution of voluntary action in the 1940s and 2010s - two “Transformational Moments” in the shape and direction of social welfare services across England. The session – chaired by Baroness Jill Pitkeathley - will include a brief summary of the research , and then from four voluntary sector leaders -  Kathy Evans (Children England), Kayleigh Wainwright (UK Youth), Karl Wilding (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) and Steph Harland (Age UK) – each of whom will look ahead to the role of voluntary action and the state in social welfare in the 2020s, while also reflecting back on learning from the past.