Caring and Coping: A Guide to Social Services

By Anthony Douglas; Terry Philpot | Go to book overview

Chapter 11

Acts of charity

The role of the voluntary sector

CHANGES IN THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR

In less than a decade the voluntary or charitable sector threw off the last vestiges of philanthropy and the do-gooder and was transformed into a major industry. As a whole (that is the totality of the voluntary sector, not just that offering social and welfare services), the sector now accounts for just under 2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, receives total voluntary income of £268 million a year, employs equivalent to 440,000 full-time staff and supports approximately 2 million volunteers. While the sector has seen an increase in central government funding, the financial contribution made by local government has steadily increased. In 1992 the sector received £588 million from local government and this had increased by 15 per cent by 1995 to £687 million (Hanvey and Philpot 1996b).

However, the sector remains extraordinarily diverse, something which the figures quoted above tend to disguise. For example, the majority of charities are small, with 88 per cent having income of no more than £100,000. Conversely, a small percentage of charities control the majority of the sector’s gross income.

What the sector does is also varied. There are local voluntary bodies, largely composed of volunteers. A parish church, used only by worshippers twenty years ago, might well now offer a base to a mental health drop-in project and an AIDS support group. There are other local groups, often staffed by volunteers, with loose attachments to well-resourced national bodies like Age Concern and Mind. Then there are the large national charities providing highly professional services, staffed by paid workers (but also using volunteers) and supplying services for groups as diverse as elderly people with dementia, children in trouble with the law and people

-195-

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Caring and Coping: A Guide to Social Services
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - From Charity to Social Work 6
  • Chapter 2 - On the Statute Book 21
  • Chapter 3 - The Nuts and Bolts of Care 37
  • Chapter 4 - For the Child’s Sake 57
  • Chapter 5 - Does the Community Care? 94
  • Chapter 6 - Whose Service is It, Anyway? 138
  • Chapter 7 - Home from Home? 150
  • Chapter 8 - Something Special 160
  • Chapter 9 - More Than a Piece of Paper 172
  • Chapter 10 - The Manager’s Tale 180
  • Chapter 11 - Acts of Charity 195
  • Chapter 12 - All in It Together 208
  • Chapter 13 - Across the Borders 218
  • Chapter 14 - Conclusion 231
  • Notes 236
  • Bibliography 242
  • Index 247
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