CRESR

Voluntary and community sector

CRESR has expertise and a long standing interest in the study of the voluntary and community sector. We undertake research both for and about the sector.

Our work focuses on:

  • measuring and mapping the voluntary and community sector
  • measuring outcomes and impact, including of social return on investment
  • approaches to social investment and funding
  • understanding sustainability, resilience and financial vulnerability
  • engagement and participation of communities

We also undertake research on specific social, economic and policy issues for clients. For example, we carried out research on hidden homelessness for the housing charity Crisis and have looked at the role of community businesses for rural community councils.

Search our work


Evaluation of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War Centenary activities

Project Director: Dr Will Eadson
Project Duration: 2014-2020

Evaluation of the HLF’s grant-making activities aimed at supporting activities by community groups and heritage-based organisations focused on the commemoration of the First World War Centenary.


Evaluation of the British Red Cross First Call Service

Project Director: Ian WIlson
Project Duration: 2017-2020

The overarching aim of the study is to evaluate delivery of the First Call service including its impact on beneficiaries and the volunteers delivering the service. The First Call service aims to deliver low-level support to older people, taking a time-limited and key worker approach to assisting with issues such as social isolation, budgeting, coping with bereavement, moving home and managing ill-health. Red Cross plans to deliver First Call in four areas during the period of the evaluation.

The objectives of the evaluation are to assess

  • if the use of volunteers to deliver services is well defined, clearly active in service delivery and effective in supporting outcomes for service users.
  • the effectiveness of approaches to provide a service to hardest to reach groups and the impact on their outcomes.
  • if service users have increased independence and confidence to manage at home.
  • if service users have improved well-being and increased social connections.
  • if service users have increased sense of security and reassurance.
  • if the service reduced service user demand on statutory services.

Early Action Neighbourhood Fund Evaluation and Learning Contract

Project Director: Sarah Pearson
Project Duration: 2015-2020

The Early Action Neighbourhood Fund (EANF) is an initiative aimed at supporting pilot projects to test early and preventative action in order to develop a better case for prevention and early action among commissioners and funders. The programme is being delivered by a collaboration of funders (the Big Lottery Fund, Comic Relief, Esmee Fairbairn, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Legal Education Foundation), under the banner of the Early Action Funders Alliance.

Three pilot projects have been supported in Phase 1. The evaluation will demonstrate programme effectiveness and identify best practice which can be used by EANF grant holders. It will also evaluate the  effectiveness of programme design and delivery in providing the right conditions to support transformational projects.

The evaluation is using a mixed methods approach including collation and analysis of quantitative project and outcome data, and interviews with stakeholders and beneficiaries.


Talent Match Evaluation and Learning Contract

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2013-2019

Talent Match is a Big Lottery Funding initiative of up to £100 million. It is investing resources in a number of areas in England where youth unemployment is a significant issue. BIG will invest for a period of up to five years to improve the lives of people aged 18-24 who have been out of education, employment or training for 12 months or more. The aims of the evaluation and learning contract are: to track the success of the programme and projects within it; to identify what works well, for whom and in what circumstances; and to share learning and improve practice.


Discourses of Voluntary Action at two 'Transformational Moments' of the Welfare State, the 1940s and 2010s

CRESR Contact: Dr Rob Macmillan
Project Duration: 2017-2019

The publication of the Beveridge Report in 1942, and the subsequent establishment of comprehensive welfare services in the UK, was referred to as ‘a revolutionary moment’. The same term has been used to describe the context in which welfare services have been and are still being significantly reshaped since 2010. At these two transformational moments, fundamental questions have been raised about who is responsible for the provision of welfare services. The project study will explore the debates that have taken place on the role, position and contribution of voluntary action in the provision of welfare in the 1940s and 2010s. It will compare and contrast public, political and voluntary sector discourses. The research will contribute to new understandings of voluntary action and to practical action for third sector organisations and policy makers.

For further information about this project please see the project website https://discoursesofvoluntaryaction.wordpress.com/

The project team is led by Professor Irene Hardill (Northumbria University) and also includes Dr Georgina Brewis (University College London), Dr Angela Ellis Paine (University of Birmingham) and Dr Rose Lindsay (University of Southampton).


Get in touch

For further information please contact Sarah Pearson at s.pearson@shu.ac.uk or call 0114 225 4902,
or Professor Peter Wells at p.wells@shu.ac.uk or call 0114 225 6262.

Key clients

Action Together
Age UK
Big Lottery Fund
Bolton CVS
British Red Cross
Cabinet Office
Church Urban Fund
Community Fund
Community Links
CVS Rochdale
Economic and Social Research Council
Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT)
GMCVO
Groundwork
Groundwork UK
Heritage Lottery Fund
Home Office
Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council
Involve Yorkshire and Humber
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales
Macc
National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA)
National Council for Voluntary Organisations
NHS Nottingham City CCG
Northern Rock Foundation
Rural Action Derbyshire
Salford CVS
South Yorkshire Housing Association
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
Tesco
Trussell Trust
Voluntary Action Rotherham
Yorkshire Adoption Agency
Yorkshire Rural Community Council
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