In May 2010, Britain's new Coalition government embarked on its journey to the Big Society. But how did we reach this point? Politicians and commentators have long bemoaned the supposed decline of civic life, fretting about its health and its future. In fact, the real story of voluntarism over the last hundred years has not been decline, but constant evolution and change. Whether we use the terms charity, philanthropy, civil society, non-governmental organisations, the third sector or the Big Society, voluntary endeavour is one of the most vibrant and dynamic areas of British public life. The senior, established and exciting new scholars featured in this collection show how the voluntary sector's role in society, and its relationship with the state, has constantly adapted to its surroundings. They have raised new agendas, tackled old problems in new ways, acted as alternatives to statutory provision and as catalysts for further government action. Voluntary groups have emerged out of citizens' concerns, independent of government and yet willing to work with politicians of all persuasions. By surveying the sheer extent and diversity of the sector since the start of the First World War, this volume demonstrates that voluntarism not only continues to thrive, but is also far larger than any political agenda that may be imposed upon it.
Peter Grant is acknowledged as one of the UK's leading practitioners in public and charitable funding. After working in the arts he was Director of an inner-city youth charity for eight years. On the commencement of the National Lottery he moved to Sport England where he devised the first Lottery programme to favour areas of deprivation and was one of the architects of Awards for All. As Director of Operations at the New Opportunities Fund between 1999 and 2005 he developed and delivered over £4.5 billion of funding programmes.
Peter then devised the world's first full masters-level programme in grantmaking and philanthropy at Cass Business School where he is academic leader of the Philanthropy, Grantmaking and Social Investment and Governance programmes. He has published widely on these topics and presented to conferences in the UK, Europe and the USA on grantmaking and the history of philanthropy. His definitive book 'The Business of Giving: The theory and practice of philanthropy, grantmaking and social investment' will be published by Palgrave in 2011. He is a trustee of the DHL Foundation, Chair of the Voluntary Action History Society and President of Kennington Cricket Club.
Peter's research and consultancy clients include government departments, NDPBs, major local authorities and charitable foundations. Past consultancy work has included developing proposals for the involvement of charities and public bodies in the London 2012 Olympics; re-structuring the operation of parole processes in England and Wales and developing proposals for alleviating problem gambling in the UK. Current clients include Nationwide Building Society, UBS Wealth Management Zurich, BP and The Prince's Charities.