Theme lead: Chris Damm
CRESR is host to one of the largest and most respected groupings of Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) researchers in the UK. We conduct projects with, on and for a wide range of VCS organisations, with a particular emphasis on applied research with a real-world impact. This includes evaluations of voluntary sector led services, but also commissioned and grant funded research projects looking at issues relevant to the sector.
Our recent partners have included NAVCA, Big Society Capital, Power to Change, Local Trust, The Lloyds Bank Foundation, Black Thrive Global, Voluntary Action Rotherham, Voluntary Action Sheffield, the Centre for Aging Better, and the National Lottery Community Fund.
As a collective, we grapple with some of the fundamental issues surrounding the VCS. Why does it exist, who does it serve, how does it operate, how should it be funded or supported? What does the nature and condition of the VCS say about our society now? What should the balance of responsibility be between the VCS and different sectors? We are interested in the role that the VCS plays in relation to some of societies’ most pressing issues, such as poverty and inequality, racial justice, public services, health inequalities, an aging society, climate change, and social isolation.
Across the cluster we have a range of methodological expertise, with researchers specialising in co-production, data science, qualitative methods, voluntary sector theory, and reflexivity in research. Several members are involved in leadership positions with academic communities and journals, both in the UK and globally. And we collectively supervise several talented PhD students, exploring topics at the forefront of debates on the voluntary sector.