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

Local Commissioning and Procurement Unit Evaluation

Project Director: Elaine Batty
Project Duration: 2008-2012

Long term evaluation of the work programme of NAVCA's Local Commissioning and Procurement Unit (LCPU), which provides support and guidance to its member local third sector infrastructure organisations on commissioning and procurement. 

Understanding Local Giving

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2012

This project explores the potential for local giving. It reviews trends in giving and draws on examples of giving practice to provide recommendations to NAVCA’s members.

Measuring and Demonstrating Impact and Value

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2012

This project supports the development of CRESR’s work in outcome and impact measurement. It is working with NHS Rotherham (on the Green Deal), the Charity Bank, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, and Involve Yorkshire and the Humber. 

The future of independent welfare advice in Rotherham

Project Director: Chris Dayson
Project Duration: 2012-2013

Research to explore the future prospects for the provision of independent advice services in Rotherham in partnership with  the Advice in Rotherham (AiR) partnership. It was funded through a grant from the Big Lottery Fund's (BIG) Supporting Change and Impact initiative, which aimed to give existing BIG projects in the last 18 months of their funding additional resources through which to review the way they work and explore ways of placing the project on a more sustainable footing for the future.

Charity Bank in the North Evaluation

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2008-2012

Charity Bank in the North was an innovative project intended to increase the array of funding used by the voluntary and community sector. In particular it sought to increase the use of loan funding at a time when grant funding was reducing. The value of the programme was around £10 million and it was delivered by Charity Bank with Key Fund Yorkshire, Fit for Funding and the University of Huddersfield.

Get in touch

For further information please contact Sarah Pearson at or call 0114 225 4902,
or Professor Peter Wells at 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)
Groundwork UK
Health Action Local Engagement
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
Local Trust
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
Trussell Trust
Voluntary Action Rotherham
Yorkshire Adoption Agency
Yorkshire Rural Community Council
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