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Voluntary and community sector

Theme lead: Chris Damm

The Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) provides help and support to hundreds of thousands of individuals and groups across the United Kingdom every day. In monetary terms, the VCS contributed £18.2bn to GDP in 2017/18, about 0.9% of total UK GDP, including £3.3bn in ‘social services’ (NCVO, 2020). The sector had a combined income of £53.5bn in the same year.

But value of the VCS cannot be captured solely using this economic approach. We need also to focus on what voluntary action contributes to our public discourse, civil society, and our collective wellbeing. Should the VCS be given even greater responsibility for delivering welfare services, either publicly or privately funded? And how might voluntary action more generally be supported by public policy?

These are just some of the questions that CRESR aims to tackle through our projects, often working in partnership with VCS organisations, funders, and public bodies as well as other researchers within Sheffield Hallam and beyond. We aim to deliver research on, for and in partnership with the VCS that is collaborative, flexible and relevant.

Our specific fields of interest include

  • VCS delivery of public services
  • Volunteering and community action
  • Social investment, enterprise, and value
  • Voluntary sector funding and infrastructure
  • Voluntary sector data sources and linkage
  • Evaluation of VCS-led initiatives and activities
  • VCS policy analysis

Recent publications


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Rob Macmillan

Dr Rob Macmillan

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Contact CRESR to discuss working with us, doctoral research and more

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