Equality issues cut across all TSRC’s work streams. We conduct research that looks specifically at minority or disadvantaged groups, how the third sector benefits these groups, and the role of these organisations within the sector as a whole.

We look at how the third sector addresses particular issues of inequality, such as homelessness, as well as the broader role played by the sector in addressing inequality and disadvantage. We address regional inequality, looking at how voluntary groups relate to and are affected by this.  

Through the workforce stream, we examine equality within third sector organisations themselves, looking at the position of women, ethnic minorities, older people etc.

Below, we signpost you to some of our most relevant research for issues of equality.

The third sector and minority groups

Black and Minority Ethnic third sector

An introduction to the BME third sector – is it a distinctive sector in its own right? How do sub-sectors differ, and what are the policy implications?

Social enterprise and ethnic minorities

Looks at the involvement of migrant and ethnic minorities in social enterprise activity, and whether current public policies are acting to engage migrant and ethnic minority communities or reproducing exclusion

Gypsy and traveller groups

The development of the UK Gypsy and Traveller third sector – how has it’s development been impeded, what resources, skills and policy is needed?

Social issues/ social exclusion


Our social enterprise research has explored how the social enterprise model can address social exclusion and homelessness. Ongoing research into self-help housing explores a community housing model that is being used to address homelessness and help the vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Criminal Justice: offenders and ex-offenders

Our service delivery research included a two year research project looking at third sector organisations working with offenders and ex-offenders. It has explored the role and impact of the third sector, the barriers they face, and the effect of policy change.

Criminal justice research

Regional inequality and the distribution of resources

Our quantitative work has been looking at the distribution of organisations and voluntary resources. Do wealthy areas have more resources? How will funding cuts affect different local areas, different types of organisation and services for different groups? Who is most likely to volunteer, where do they live and what does this mean for different communities?

Equality within third sector organisations

Our workforce research is looking at how gender, race, age, class and sexuality shape the working lives and careers of those in the third sector. Is the sector more ‘equal’ than other sectors? Does equality vary across different parts of the sector?

Other research

Communities and community groups

Below the radar research is looking at community groups, empowerment and social action at the local level, what this means for different groups, and the effect of policy change on groups, their services, and equality between communities.

Below the Radar research stream

Real Times: third sector case studies

A selection of cases in TSRC’s core qualitative research project, Real Times will allow for comparative analyses, in depth and over time, on third sector activities and organisations that have varying equalities dimensions to them.

Real Times research